AppleInsider write that Australian company Cochlear has today launched the first fruits of its partnership with Apple, a hearing implant sound processor called the Nucleus 7. The new implant, which is the world’s first Made for iPhone sound processor, was designed by Cochlear and Apple to connect with, and incorporate sound from, iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.
The Nucleus 7 was first revealed back in July, but the two companies have been working on it together for 3 years prior to that. The sound processor is perfectly integrated with Apple technology to enable connected iOS devices to output sound directly to an implant embedded in the user’s head.
Apple’s accessibility engineering team worked with Cochlear to develop a type of Bluetooth Low Energy protocol entitled Bluetooth Low Energy Audio (BLEA) that would be able to transfer high-quality audio without drastically running down the user’s battery.
Prior to the arrival of the Nucleus 7, Cochlear implant patients had to use a separate Bluetooth accessory in order to connect to their iOS device. Now they can directly access audio for phone calls, music, movies, and so on via their iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch.
“We started looking at this program around the concept of Bluetooth LE and how it would be a beneficial tool in this specific circumstance,” said Sarah Herrlinger, Apple’s director of accessibility. “The work we have done is applicable both to hearing aids and sound processors.”
“We made this work when you may have two different devices,” she added. “It may even be from two different companies.”
Sources: Apple and Cochlear partner on new hearing implant technology
Cochlear introduces the world’s first Made for iPhone cochlear implant sound processor