The artificial cochlear implant is the only way how to get lost hearing back in some cases. Existing artificial cochlear devices use two separated parts for this purpose: a signal processing unit with transmitter and an implantable receiver with electrodes. This approach is applicable but not fully implantable. A new complex approach to design of a fully implantable artificial cochlea is described in this article.
The proposed artificial cochlea consists of many subcircuits which have to be designed in close context to reach optimal performance and the lowest power consumption. Power consumption should be decreased to a value which allows using cochlear implant as a zero-powered system. A combination of micro-mechanized diaphragm filter bank, possible energy harvesting power source and especially ultra-low power processing electronics is presented in this article. A unique technique for nerve stimulatory output signal generation is discussed. This new technique named charge push-through electronics should use the major part of energy generated by energy harvesting subcircuit for output useful signal generation with minimal undesirable current.
Mechanical parts of the subcircuits were simulated as complex electro-mechanical simulation models in ANSYS, CoventorWare, Matlab and SPICE environment. First, the real energy harvesting power source (human motion and temperature) behavior was measured. The model of this behavior was created in simulation environment and then the whole electronics simulation model for energy harvesting circuits was estimated. Next, signal processing circuits powered from energy harvesting power source were designed and simulated. The new signal processing circuits were simulated in relation to the results of complex electro mechanical diaphragm and SPICE energy harvesting power source simulation.