Today it was reported in ‘De Volkskrant’ that doctors of Maastricht University Medical Center have succeeded in, for the first time ever, implanting an artificial balance organ, a vestibular implant, in two patients. A vestibular implant is more or less a cochlear implant that relays information on orientation and accelleration onto the hair cells in the vestibula, the small organ attached to the cochlea that assists in preserving balance. According to Prof. Robert Stokroos of UMCM, the first measurements after the surgery showed positive results. Very important, as far as I understand, will be whether the vestibular implant will allow for perfect integration of the balance information delivered by the implant and the balance perceived by the eyes.
Despite all this, I believe we have exciting times ahead for the application of novel neurostimulating devices.