NanoBioMagnetics has been granted a patent by the US Patent and Trademark Office for a system that uses nanoparticles to help the hard of hearing.
In use, the NanoBioMagnetics idea is to first detect sound waves, then process the signals and use the result to drive an electromagnetic coil. The coil then would transmit a signal that would causes the nanoparticles - and the tissues in the organs of the middle ear within which they were implanted - to vibrate, hence amplifying the sound.
NanoBioMagnetics claims that this is the first demonstration of the nanomechanical movement of tissue. Development and validation of the concept was carried out for two years between 2002 and 2004. The company now plans to commercialise the idea through partnership deals.
It believes that the technology covered by the patent - method and apparatus for improving hearing - has the potential to shrink hearing aids substantially.
A companion technology, based on the targeted delivery of bioactive materials to the inner ear, is still under development, according to Charles Seeney, CEO and founder of NanoBioMagnetics.
NanoBioMagnetics’s hearing amplification technology was developed in part through collaborations with the University of Oklahoma and the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, an affiliate of Harvard Medical School.
You can read the patent on line here.