Dalhousie University Researcher Participates in Major Acoustical Science and Technology Conference
Rob Adamson will be speaking at this year’s Major Acoustical Science and Technology Conference in Cancun, Mexico from November 15-19. The conference is hosted by the Acoustical Society of America (ASA), the Mexican Institute of Acoustics (IMA), and the Iberoamerican Federation of Acoustics (FIA). The conference is focused on the latest innovations in the field of acoustics, also known as the science of sound. A broad range of topics will be discussed including architecture, animal communications, engineering, oceanography, medicine, music and psychology.
Rob Adamson will be speaking about new technologies in powering hearing aids. His talk is entitled, “A miniature, ultrasonic transcutaneous energy transmission system for powering implantable medical devices (1pBB9)”. Traditionally, medically implanted devices rely on batteries which eventually wear out. Beaming energy through the skin is a useful alternative and can be done through two methods radio waves or ultrasound. Adamson studies the ultrasound method of energy transmission.
Ultrasound technology allows the devices to be much smaller than devices that rely on radio wave technology. This is because the power source required for ultra sound technology is much smaller than the one necessary for radio wave technology.
Radio wave technology uses magnets in order to align the internal and external devices. This prevents patients from being able to undergo MRI scans, a technology that is becoming increasingly more common. Ultrasound technology is not nearly as sensitive in terms of device alignment as radio wave technology are therefore does not require the use of magnets.
Smaller devices would lead to more options for surgical placement of the hearing devices. Currently, the only place for the device is on the central part of the skull (see image below). Smaller devices would be able to be implanted directly behind the ear.
Adamson’s device is not yet in clinical trials, but his lab is associated with an ear surgeon. Ultrasound technology also has the potential to be used in other medial applications and devices such as artificial hearts.
“It would be great to eliminate the magnet and we're hoping that ultrasound technology might be the way to get that done. We're just at the earliest stages of trying to design a system that doesn't need a magnet. We are reporting successful experiments in delivering power across a water bath using ultrasound with 38 percent efficiency.” -Rob Adamson, assistant professor, Dalhousie University
“If we can get the implanted unit down to a few millimeters in size, the surgical placement options become much wider. Right now the only place that will fit the unit is the higher central part of the skull like in the photo, but implantation behind the ear would be preferable for a number of reason if the device were small enough to fit.” -Rob Adamson, assistant professor, Dalhousie University
- Mel Hennigar, firstname.lastname@example.org, 902.494.1323