BOZEMAN, MONTANAFlat Earth Inc., a Montana-based radar development company, was recently awarded a $2 million Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant from the U.S. Small Business Administration.

According to the company, the grant will used to help further develop the open speech platforman algorithm the company developed to improve the quality of hearing aid devices. In 2016, the company was the recipient of a previous SBIR grant, which was used to finalize the proof-of-concept for the algorithm.

 

flat earth hearing aid research

Head of research at Flat Earth, Inc, Raymond Weber conducts tests on a development board. The development board offers a platform to study hearing aid performance in real-time. Courtesy Bozeman Daily Chronicle

 

“Our goal is to get rid of the inherent latency that hearing aid technology has today,” said Flat Earth CEO and founder Doug Roberts.

 
“Flat Earth is basing this open speech platform on Field Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGAs) because FPGAs are ideal for real-time digital signal processing (DSP) and more importantly, they provide very low and deterministic latencies, which cannot be provided using conventional CPU+Cache+DRAM architectures.  What this means for the hearing aid research community will be a high performance computational platform that will allow computationally expensive DSP algorithms to be developed and then tested in real-time using the same portable platform.
Our initial system involves developing an audio daughter card that can plug into a low cost FPGA board. This system will then by integrated on the same printed circuit board (PCB), making it much more compact and portable. It is ultimately envisioned that people will be able to try out the latest hearing-aid algorithms on this portable FPGA hearing-aid system.” 
 

According to the company’s CEO, the long-term plan is to create an “engineering toolkit” that can be used by developers and hearing device manufacturers when creating amplification devices in the future.

 

Source: Bozeman Daily Chronicle

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