Processing

Please wait...

Settings

Settings

Goto Application

1. WO2007143453 - METHODS AND APPARATUS FOR TRANSMITTING VIBRATIONS

Note: Text based on automatic Optical Character Recognition processes. Please use the PDF version for legal matters

[ EN ]

CLAIMS
What is claimed is:
1. An apparatus for transmitting vibrations via at least one tooth to facilitate hearing in a patient, comprising:
a housing having a shape which is conformable to at least a portion of the at least one tooth;
an actuatable transducer disposed within or upon the housing and in vibratory communication with a surface of the at least one tooth.

2. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein the housing comprises an oral appliance having a shape which conforms to the at least one tooth.

3. The apparatus of claim 2 wherein the oral appliance is fabricated via a three-dimensional printing process.

4. The apparatus of claim 2 wherein the oral appliance is fabricated via a machining process.

5. The apparatus of claim 1 further comprising an electronic assembly disposed within or upon the housing and which is in communication with the transducer.

6. The apparatus of claim 5 wherein the electronic assembly is encapsulated within the housing.

7. The apparatus of claim 5 wherein the electronic assembly further comprises a power supply in electrical communication with transducer.

8. The apparatus of claim 7 wherein the power supply comprises a battery.

9. The apparatus of claim 7 wherein the power supply is rechargeable.

10. The apparatus of claim 5 wherein the electronic assembly further comprises a processor in electrical communication with the transducer.

1 1. The apparatus of claim 10 wherein the electronic assembly further comprises a microphone for receiving auditory signals and which is in electrical communication with the processor.

12. The apparatus of claim 5 wherein the electronic assembly further comprises a receiver in wireless communication with an externally located transmitter assembly.

13. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein the transducer is in vibratory communication with the surface via an adhesive layer for maintaining the transducer in contact with the surface.

14. The apparatus of claim 1 further comprising an expandable osmotic pouch positioned adjacent to the transducer such that expansion of the osmotic pouch urges the transducer against the surface.

15. The apparatus of claim 14 wherein the osmotic pouch is comprised of a swellable hydrogel.

16. The apparatus of claim 1 further comprising at least one biasing element positioned adjacent to the transducer such that the biasing element maintains the transducer against the surface via a biasing force.

17. The apparatus of claim 16 wherein the at least one biasing element comprises a spring.

18. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein the transducer defines an angled surface in apposition to the surface.

19. The apparatus of claim 1 further comprising an interface layer between the transducer and the surface through which vibratory communication is maintained.

20. The apparatus of claim 19 wherein the interface layer comprises a plastic or paste material.

21. The apparatus of claim 1 further comprising an elongate support for urging the transducer against the surface upon actuation via an engager disposed externally of the housing.

22. The apparatus of claim 1 further comprising an actuatable cam member configured to urge the transducer against the surface when urged via a mechanism disposed externally of the housing.

23. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein the transducer is positioned along a portion of the housing which contacts an occlusal surface of the at least one tooth.

24. The apparatus of claim 1 further comprising an engaging member having an angled interface adapted to urge the transducer against the surface when the engaging member is forced linearly by pressure exerted against an occlusal surface of the at least one tooth.

25. The apparatus of claim 1 further comprising an anchor adhered to the surface, wherein the anchor has a configuration shaped to receive a corresponding portion defined at least by the transducer.

26. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein the transducer is positioned within the housing along a channel adjacent to an occlusal surface of the at least one tooth.

27. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein the housing is comprised of a shape memory material having a pre-formed unbiased configuration and a deformed configuration whereby the housing is secured onto the at least one tooth in the deformed configuration.

28. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein the housing is conformable to a side surface of the at least one tooth such that an occlusal surface of the tooth remains open.

29. The apparatus of claim 1 further comprising at least one additional actuatable transducer in vibratory communication with the surface.

30. The apparatus of claim 29 wherein the at least one additional actuatable transducer is disposed within or upon the housing.

31. The apparatus of claim 29 wherein the at least one additional actuatable transducer is disposed within or upon at least one additional housing having a shape which is also conformable to at least a portion of a tooth.

32. The apparatus of claim 29 wherein the transducer and the at least one additional transducer are each configured to have a frequency response and/or transmission different from one another.

33. The apparatus of claim 29 wherein each transducer is adapted to provide a sound or vibrational queue indicative of a direction in which sound is detected relative to an orientation of a user.

34. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein the housing is configured as a mouthguard or retainer.

35. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein the housing is adapted to conform to at least the portion of the at least one tooth via an interference fit.

36. The apparatus of claim 1 further comprising:
a conduction transmission member coupled to the transducer; and a post or screw attached to a maxillary or mandibular bone and to the conduction transmission member.

37. A method of transmitting vibrations via at least one tooth, comprising:
positioning a housing onto at least one tooth, whereby the housing has a shape which is conformable to at least a portion of the tooth; and
maintaining contact between a surface of the at least one tooth with at least an actuatable transducer such that the surface and transducer remain in vibratory communication.

38. The method of claim 37 further comprising receiving an auditory signal via a microphone and actuating the transducer in a corresponding manner against the surface.

39. The method of claim 37 wherein positioning a housing comprises securing the housing against or upon the tooth.

40. The method of claim 37 wherein maintaining contact comprises securing the transducer via an adhesive layer against the surface.

41. The method of claim 37 wherein maintaining contact comprises urging the transducer against the surface via an expandable osmotic pouch positioned adjacent to the transducer.

42. The method of claim 37 wherein maintaining contact comprises urging the transducer against the surface via at least one biasing element positioned adjacent to the transducer.

43. The method of claim 37 wherein maintaining contact comprises positioning an interface layer between the transducer and the surface through which vibratory communication is maintained.

44. The method of claim 37 wherein maintaining contact comprises urging the transducer against the surface via an engager disposed externally of the housing.

45. The method of claim 37 wherein the transducer is in contact with an occlusal surface of the at least one tooth.

46. The method of claim 37 wherein maintaining contact comprises adhering an anchor to the surface and fixedly attaching the transducer thereto.

47. The method of claim 37 wherein positioning comprises securing the housing to a side surface of the at least one tooth such that an occlusal surface of the tooth remains open.