High resolution mapping of the cochlear nerve using optical stimulation

Period of Performance: 08/30/2008 - 07/31/2010

$453K

Phase 2 STTR

Recipient Firm

Lockheed Martin Aculight Corporation
Bothell, WA 98021
Principal Investigator

Abstract

DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): Neural prosthetic devices are artificial extensions to the body that restore or supplement nervous system function that was lost during disease or injury. Particular success has been realized in the cochlear prostheses development. In contemporary cochlear implants, however, the injected electric current is spread widely along the scala tympani and across turns limiting the number of effective hearing channels. In the Phase 1, we developed a research cochlear infrared nerve stimulator and identified the need for a small pulse width laser pulses when stimulating nerves within the cochlea. In this Phase 2, we propose to develop a compact diode driver and implantable single channel cochlear stimulator. Identification of the optimal fiber placement and chronic studies of implanting the cochlear stimulator in an animal model will also be conducted. The outcome of this grant will be to identify the optimal stimulation parameters and implantable design for future clinical trials after the Phase 2. This project is intended to benefit those that have lost hearing through disease or injury by developing a tool for research in cochlear implants as well as developing an improved cochlear implant. This research will focus on enhancing the performance of the cochlear implant to allow people to hear speech in a crowded room.