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Quick-disconnect connector for a cochlear implant

30 November 2020

A cochlear implant, often referred to as a bionic ear, is a surgically implanted device that enables a severely deaf person to hear again.

The external transmitter, where a connector is required, transmits RF signals through to the implant via a magnetic connection to reduce the possibility of patient infection. The transmitter processes the RF signals from the microphones through a speech processor and then into the internal implant which connects to the cochlear – allowing the person to “hear” the sound.

After suffering failures of standard connectors, a major manufacturer of cochlear implant technology approached Intelliconnect with a request to develop a quick-disconnect connector that would be suitable for use in such a medical system application.

The proposed connector was to be in the external transmitting/processing part of the device and needed to be extremely rugged and reliable.

Latest estimates of the number of people fitted with implants are close to 200,000, with the reliability of all components expected to be in excess of 99.5 percent. High reliability, fast turnaround, custom designs, and exceptional customer service were among the reasons that led the customer to approach Intelliconnect to create this new connector.

The custom-designed connector had to be waterproof, as the connectors were used close to the skin. It had to be used in normal domestic environments, such as swimming pools, showers and baths, as well as high-humidity environments, such as saunas, steam rooms, etc. The design had to be small enough to fit into the transmitter equipment, but still rugged enough to allow for a push/pull connection style to be incorporated.

Read the full article in the December issue of DPA

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