Real-Time Research Platform Applied to Sound Processing Research in Cochlear Implants and Hearing Aids

John Heasman, Cochlear

The multichannel cochlear implant is a unique technological achievement, representing the application of a novel combination of science, technology, and medicine. It brings functional hearing to severely or profoundly deaf individuals, transforming not only their lives but those of their families.

In 1985 Cochlear™ released the first commercial multichannel Nucleus® implant system. Four further generations have been released in the 25 years since. Innovations in mechanical design, electronics, and signal processing have brought successive improvements in device reliability and clinical outcomes. As of April 2011, over 144,000 registered Cochlear Nucleus® Implant Systems were in use globally.

Recent advances in acoustic signal processing for cochlear implants have produced incremental, but significant, improvements in cochlear implant recipients’ speech understanding. In the past, these improvements were constrained by laborious, time-consuming algorithmic implementation using proprietary digital signal processor (DSP) devices. This investment in process can limit the time available for creative work and hence restrict technological innovation.

Cochlear circumvented this innovation bottleneck with a rapid prototyping platform built with MATLAB and Simulink. The accelerated development process greatly reduced the time from conception to realization and increased the potential for future innovation.

This session describes how Simulink and xPC Target™ were integrated into a PC-based system with real-time capability. It will also provide examples of day-to-day contributions to people with Cochlear implants or hearing aids.

Product Focus

  • Simulink

Recorded: 28 Mar 2012