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Smiths Spring Probes help the Hearing Impaired

Intraoral dental x-ray sensors replace traditional film for tooth x-rays in the dentist’s office. Instead of picking up the image on film, the sensor transmits the image directly to a computer monitor so the dentist can make real-time diagnoses of the patient’s teeth. This company’s sensor connects to the system with a 6 position cable connector which must be easy to use, low resistance, and reliable over 100’s to 1000’s of mating cycles.

Application:  Cochlear Implant​

The external, behind the ear, part of a cochlear implant hearing aid device required a reliable connector to connect the controller to the processing unit.  This connector, with 11 contacts, must have a very small footprint and profile, IP67 sealing, and needed a simple twist and lock mating action.  It also needed to work in the (inherently dirty) behind the ear environment.

Solution: Small sealed custom connector with spring probe contacts​

Smiths Interconnect developed a very small sealed custom connector which incorporated spring probe contacts, which initially contact the plastic insulator around the target contacts in the mating connector, then when the connectors twist to lock, the probes move onto the targets providing a self-cleaning wiping action.  This mating action, in such a small package, would have been impossible with typical pin and socket contacts, but spring probes provided the exact features required for this connector.

Customer Advantage:

  • Self-Cleaning: The twist and lock mating action Spring probes clean tips of contacts as they rotate onto the end of the mating target contacts
  • Sealed: IP67 design prevents liquid ingress into the connector
  • Small footprint: Custom design provides 11 contacts in a small package which limits the size of the device worn behind the patient’s ear