Friday, May 3, 2013

3D Printing - Bionic Ears Please!

The world of 3D printing continues to advance at a phenomenal rate!  The story excerpted and linked below is on par with recent advances.

The finished ear consists of a coiled antenna inside a cartilage structure. Two wires lead from the base of the ear and wind around a helical “cochlea” — the part of the ear that senses sound — which can connect to electrodes.
McAlpine cautions that further work and extensive testing would need to be done before a version of the technology could be used on a patient for normal hearing. He said the ear in principle could be used to restore or enhance human hearing.
He said electrical signals produced by the ear could be connected to a patient’s nerve endings, similar to a hearing aid. The current system receives radio waves, but he said the research team plans to incorporate other materials, such as pressure-sensitive electronic sensors, to enable the ear to register ordinary acoustic sounds.

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