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All-Optical Cochlear Implants

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Document pages: 11 pages

Abstract: In the present work, we introduce a novel cochlear implant (CI) architecture,namely all-optical CI (AOCI), which directly converts acoustic to opticalsignals capable of stimulating the cochlear neurons. First, we describe thebuilding-blocks (BBs) of the AOCI, and explain their functionalities as well astheir interconnections. Next, we present a comprehensive system model thatincorporates the technical characteristics and constraints of each BB, thetransdermal-optical-channel particularities, i.e. optical path-loss andexternal-implanted device stochastic pointing-errors, and the cochlear neuronsbiological properties. Additionally, in order to prove the feasibility of theAOCI architecture, we conduct a link-budget analysis that outputs novelclosed-form expressions for the instantaneous and average photon flux that isemitted on the cochlear neurons. Likewise, we define three newkey-performance-indicators (KPIs), namely probability of hearing, probabilityof false-hearing, and probability of neural damage. The proposed theoreticalframework is verified through respective simulations, which not only quantifythe efficiency of the proposed architecture, but also reveal an equilibriumbetween the optical transmission power and the patient s safety, as well as theAOCI BBs specifications. Finally, it is highlighted that the AOCI approach isgreener and safer than the conventional CIs.

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