Development of Rechargeable Batteries for BTE Cochlear Devices


DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): For many years cochlear devices were primarily powered by zinc-air hearing-aid batteries. However, given the inconvenience, cost and environmental impact due to the replacement and disposal of non-rechargeable zinc-air batteries, the cochlear industry recently introduced rechargeable Li-ion battery powered cochlear devices. While Li-ion battery provides advantages over non-rechargeable zinc-air battery, it is not capable of meeting the demanding requirements of the newes t and next generation Behind-the-Ear (BTE) cochlear implants. When powered with Li-ion, these devices would need to be frequently recharged (often more than once a day) and the battery would need to be replaced every year (average battery life of only one  year). The cochlear industry is seeking a higher energy density battery (gt300 Wh/L) with sufficient charge to power the next generation cochlear device for 1-3 days without recharging, with recharge capability in 5 to 10 minutes and with at least a five y ear life. FET submits this application to NIH for to develop a 120-mAh rechargeable BTE cochlear battery that will meet these requirements. It will be based on FET's high energy density NanoEnergy(R) thin-film battery technology. In Phase I, we will fabric ate individual battery cells and modules (stack of 5 cells) and conduct tests to demonstrate their performance. In Phase II, we will complete the battery by stacking modules and will produce a sufficient quantity of batteries for extensive in-house testing  and evaluation by our partner in this effort - a major cochlear device manufacturer. Proposed Commercial Applications: Our initial battery will be designed for BTE cochlear devices, which generate current annual sales of approximately   425 million and ex pected to grow by approximately 20 percent annually. Upon completion of the cochlear demonstration battery, we will pursue other implantable neuromodulation applications, which have current annual sales of  1.6 billion and expected to grow to  10 billion i n 10 to 15 years. In addition to neuromodulation applications, our battery technology will be suitable for developing rechargeable batteries for hearing aids, currently estimated to be a  5 billion dollar industry. Thesaurus Terms: Medical device power sou rce, thin-film battery, lithium battery, cochlear implant, neurostimulator power source, neuromodulation battery, hearing aid battery.       

PUBLIC HEALTH RELEVANCE: The energy-density and life of currently-available rechargeable batteries are inadequate  to meet the challenging power requirements of next generation cochlear implants, hearing aids and neuromodulation systems. NanoEnergy(R), Front Edge Technology's (FET) rechargeable, thin-film, lithium battery technology is enabling technology for meeting t hese demanding power requirement.

US Department of Health & Human Services
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