Development of a Biomimetic Semicircular Canal with MEMS Sensors to Restore Balance

Publication Type:
Journal Article
IEEE Sensors Journal, 2019, 19 (23), pp. 11675 - 11686
Issue Date:
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© 2001-2012 IEEE. A third of adults over the age of 50 suffer from chronic impairment of balance, posture, and/or gaze stability due to partial or complete impairment of the sensory cells in the inner ear responsible for these functions. The consequences of impaired balance organ can be dizziness, social withdrawal, and acceleration of the further functional decline. Despite the significant progress in biomedical sensing technologies, current artificial vestibular systems fail to function in practical situations and in very low frequencies. Herein, we introduced a novel biomechanical device that closely mimics the human vestibular system. A microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) flow sensor was first developed to mimic the vestibular haircell sensors. The sensor was then embedded into a three-dimensional (3D) printed semicircular canal and tested at various angular accelerations in the frequency range from 0.5Hz to 1.5Hz. The miniaturized device embedded into a 3D printed model will respond to mechanical deflections and essentially restore the sense of balance in patients with vestibular dysfunctions. The experimental and simulation studies of semicircular canal presented in this work will pave the way for the development of balance sensory system, which could lead to the design of a low-cost and commercially viable medical device with significant health benefits and economic potential.
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