Wireless Digital Link Companion Microphone

Award Information
Agency:
Department of Health and Human Services
Branch
n/a
Amount:
$181,275.00
Award Year:
2006
Program:
STTR
Phase:
Phase I
Contract:
1R41NR010323-01
Award Id:
80369
Agency Tracking Number:
NR010323
Solicitation Year:
n/a
Solicitation Topic Code:
n/a
Solicitation Number:
n/a
Small Business Information
6901 EAST FISH LAKE ROAD, SUITE #190, MAPLE GROVE, MN, 55369
Hubzone Owned:
N
Minority Owned:
N
Woman Owned:
N
Duns:
n/a
Principal Investigator:
PAUL GIBSON
(763) 463-4814
PGIBSON@AME-CORP.COM
Business Contact:
THOMAS HENDRICKSON
(763) 463-4814
thendrickson@ame-corp.com
Research Institute:
UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA

UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA
100 CHURCH ST SE
MINNEAPOLIS, MN, 55455

Nonprofit college or university
Abstract
DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): This project will develop a digital wireless transceiver integrated circuit (IC) and antenna for a companion microphone system that can be packaged in an in-the-ear (ITE) hearing aid. The use of companion microphones has been shown to improve perception of a companion's speech in noise filled environments such as restaurants, entertainment events, and urban areas. Despite their proven ability to improve speech perception, relatively few adults use them. They are cosmetically unacceptable to many people and draw unwanted attention to the hearing aid user and the companion. Current wireless microphone products use frequency modulation (FM) to transmit an analog signal. They communicate with a hearing aid via a telecoil, linking to a separate device worn by the hearing aid user, or a "boot" that attaches to a behind-the-ear hearing aid. Recently, Bluetooth radios have been used to replace the FM technology, but these are also implemented as a boot or wearable module similar to a wireless cell phone headset. The companion wireless microphones for these wireless systems are typically 50 cm3 or greater in size and consume significantly more power relative to in-the-ear hearing aids. The proposed companion microphone system uses a new radio technology that significantly reduces the power and corresponding physical size of the required battery. New advances in antennas show the potential of achieving the size needed for an ITE hearing aid while meeting the performance needs of the wireless companion microphone application. The proposed IC will also be used to reduce the size of the wireless companion microphone to the same size as the ITE hearing aid. More than 28 million Americans already suffer from or face imminent hearing loss. The segments of hearing aid users that can receive the greatest benefit from the proposed technology are the estimated 10% of hearing- impaired persons suffering signal-to-noise-ratio loss. These individuals have a reduced ability to understand speech in noise-filled environments.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

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