Daily Updates, Future Ear Radio

Future Ear Daily Update: 3-25-19

To listen to the broadcast with your Alexa device, enable the skill here: https://www.amazon.com/Witlingo-Future-Ear-Radio/dp/B07PL9X5WK/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=future+ear+radio&qid=1552337687&s=digital-skills&sr=1-1-catcorr

and then say, “Alexa, launch Future Ear Radio.”

Hearing Aid Know Podcast with Achin Bhowmik of Starkey

Geoff Cooling recently interviewed Achin Bhowmik, Starkey’s Chief Technology Officer and Executive Vice President of Engineering, on his Hearing Aid Know podcast. Achin’s background is that he worked at Intel for 17 years as a VP in its Perceptual Computing Group before joining Starkey two years ago. Since joining Starkey, he’s been a driving force in re-shaping the concept of hearing aids from single-function, amplification devices to multi-functional ear computers by helping to create Starkey’s Livio AI hearing aid.

It’s a quick 17 minute interview that hits on a lot of what Starkey is aiming to do with Livio AI. Give it a listen below.

Livio AI represents one of the most advanced mini ear-computers on the market. It is embedded with inertial and biometric sensors that are used in conjunction with the hearing aid use data to create a daily “Thrive” score that is intended to be achieved each day to encourage physical and cognitive wellness. Starkey has done a good job “gamifying” the data inside the companion Thrive app, so that users get a quick read out of their daily progress toward their goal, similar to how the Apple Watch uses rings as a visual read-out for your daily progress toward your stand, move and exercise goals. Along with recording and providing a visualization of your cognitive and physical data, these sensors are also capable of detecting falls (every 11 seconds, an older adult is admitted to a US emergency room). The newest iteration of Livio AI even includes a Valencell heart rate monitor, making Livio AI one of the smallest devices embedded with a PPG-heart rate monitor.

In addition to being equipped with a variety of sensors, these hearing aids are also a home for smart assistants. Starkey’s introduced its own smart assistant, the Thrive Assistant, which fields any query that is tied to the hearing aid (Which setting am I on? What’s my Thrive score? What’s my battery life?), while general questions (what’s the weather?) go to the cloud and are fielded by Google Assistant. Livio AI is also capable of live-language translation for 27 languages and has voice-to-text transcription. As I said, these hearing aids are pushing the boundaries of what a hearing aid, and even more broadly, hearables, can be.

During the interview (~5 min mark), Achin says that the three goals of Livio AI are, “make uncompromising sound quality, turn the device with sensors and AI into a gateway to health, and the third is to make the device into a window of information.”  First and foremost, the core functionality, amplification, is the top priority. Since these devices are worn for extended periods of the day, they also represent the perfect opportunity for biometric data collection and a home for our smart assistants. An all-in-one little ear-computer, that specializes in amplification.

-Thanks for Reading-


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