Annals of Biomedical Engineering

, Volume 28, Issue 5, pp 572–581 | Cite as

Prototype Neural Semicircular Canal Prosthesis using Patterned Electrical Stimulation

  • Wangsong Gong
  • Daniel M. Merfeld


The design of a prototype semicircular canal prosthesis is presented along with preliminary results. This device measures angular velocity of the head (±500°/s) using a piezoelectric vibrating gyroscope. With a digital filter this velocity is filtered to match the dynamic characteristics of the semicircular canals, which are the physiological rotation sensors of the vestibular system. This digitally filtered signal is used to modulate the pulse rate of electrical stimulation. The pulse rate is varied between 50 and 250 Hz via a sigmoidal lookup table relating pulse rate to angular velocity; the steady-state rate is 150 Hz. A current source utilizes these timing pulses to deliver charge balanced, cathodic-first, biphasic, current pulses to the nerves innervating the semicircular canal via platinum electrodes. Power is supplied via lithium batteries. dc/dc converters are used to generate regulated ±5 V supplies from the batteries. All of the components are contained in a small, lightweight, Nylon box measuring roughly 43 mm×31 mm×25 mm, which can be mounted on the top of an animal's head. This device has been tested in guinea pigs having surgically implanted platinum electrodes, and the results show that the prosthesis can provide a rotational cue to the nervous system. © 2000 Biomedical Engineering Society.

PAC00: 4366Ts, 8719Nn, 8719La, 8780Xa

Vestibular Prosthesis Guinea pig 


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Copyright information

© Biomedical Engineering Society 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Wangsong Gong
    • 1
    • 2
  • Daniel M. Merfeld
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Otology and LaryngologyHarvard Medical SchoolBoston
  2. 2.W. M. Keck Foundation Neural Prosthesis Research CenterMassachusetts Institute of TechnologyCambridge

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