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Bionic ear promises to deliver remarkable sound experience

Posted: 18 Sep 2014 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:AT&S? Soundchip? STMicroelectronics? bionic hearing module? MEMS?

AT&S, a provider of advanced packaging solutions, Soundchip SA, a Swiss-based innovator in wearable sound technology, and STMicroelectronics, a semiconductor company serving customers across the spectrum of electronics applications, have teamed up to develop a bionic hearing module which, when installed into a personal audio device, promises to deliver exceptional wearable sound experience controlled at the ear by the wearer and software intelligence.

Personal audio devices, such as an MP3 player or smartphone, equipped with the bionic hearing module, provide wearers with the ability to electronically "open" and "close" their ears to ambient sound conditions, or even to augment ambient sound with programmed audio from a connected smart device. This capability can fully protect wearers from noise in situations where the ambient sound is too loud, or to open the ear for natural conversation with others, without having to remove the audio device, suffer from the discomfort of occlusion, or worse, the pain of loud noise.

The bionic hearing module integrates a broad spectrum of advanced electronics to further enhance the on-the-go audio experience, including head-tracking and other sensing, to enable exciting new features, including augmented-audio guidance and biometric monitoring, the companies revealed.

The multi-mode audio capabilities of the bionic hearing module are enabled through the use of HD-PA technology developed by Soundchip. Their implementation in a compact form factor is made possible through the use of patented Soundstrate technology, which enables the efficient combination of electronic, acoustic and transmission means within a single, compact mechanical structure.

The semiconductor components in the bionic hearing module comprise the latest motion and audio MEMS components from STMicroelectronics, an HD-PA-compliant audio engine for zero-latency sound processing, and an ultra-low-power STM32 MCU from ST.

The bionic hearing module's packaging employs the latest in embedded component packaging (ECP) and 2.5D PCB technology from AT&S, which is capable of integrating acoustic, electroacoustic, passive and active electronic components with unmatched efficiency, providing module dimensions ideally suited to the comfort and size constraints of in-ear operation, and compatible with most existing in-ear-type personal audio devices noted the companies.

The bionic hearing module is expected to be available for customer sampling by 2Q15.

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