Many deaf or near-deaf people have been helped with cochlear implants but MIT in collaboration with Harvard Medical School and the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary have developed a new, low-power signal-processing chip that works like a cochlear implant without the bulky external hardware. The implant works for eight hours between charges, which is done wirelessly without the need for the bulky battery pack outside the ear. And the prototype engineers are showing at a recent conference plugs into a smartphone to charge and can charge within two minutes. Another plus, it needs no outside microphone. But as in all new technology, there are still some growing pains. Current cochlear implant surgery take between and hour and an hour and a half while this new technology takes 3 to 4 hours to implant.