Center for Robust Speech Systems


CCI-Mobile Research Platform for Cochlear Implants

The main aim of this project, funded by NIDCD/NIH, is to develop a portable and flexible research interface which can be used by researchers interested in exploring new sound processing/stimulation ideas to improve cochlear implant devices. The research platform includes a portable processor for implementing and evaluating novel speech processing algorithms, a stimulator unit which can be used for electrical stimulation and neurophysiologic studies with animals, and a recording unit for collecting electroencephalogram/evoked potentials from human subjects. Smartphone/tablet is chosen as the computing platform due to the portability, powerful handheld computing capabilities, and flexible software infrastructure it provides. The system can be programmed in MATLAB, C, C++, C#, JAVA, assembly language, or a combination of the above. The portability of the platform makes it an extremely useful tool for conducting experiments in laboratory as well as for long-term field trials in real-world environments. The software infrastructure of the platform is modular, flexible, and easy to program which makes it easy for the researchers to implement and test new speech coding algorithms without being constrained or limited by the proprietary nature of commercially-available implant speech processors.

The CCI-Mobile platform is the first of its kind research interface built on a commercially available PDA/smartphone/tablet devices. It sets an example to bridge medical devices with consumer electronics. The platform is being used in several laboratories across the U.S. for various research studies and it will aid in bridging scientific research with commercial applications. This is likely to open new frontiers for scientific exploration and will result in a paradigm shift in how speech processing/perception research is carried out in the cochlear implant field. The research originating due to the existence of the platform could potentially benefit hundreds of thousands of hearing-impaired people worldwide.