Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Meet Timo

Meet Timo -

Timo is a computer generated talking face program designed for autistic, deaf, and other language-challenged children, Animated Speech Corporation produces software that increases the rate of learning—and retaining—speech and language skills. Backed by 15 years of university research, tested and refined in pilot school programs, and designed to accommodate individual needs, our products provide learning environments that children want to return to again and again.

This is an excellent program for young kids learning the vocabulary, reading, and learning comprehesion. I really enjoyed taking a spin with Timo, and I think it is great for kids to have an interactive computer to learn along. They have a demo program available for downloading - and I hope you can give it a try!!!

Have a great day!!


Exciting News from Advanced Bionics

I just got this annoucement from Advanced Bionics:

HiRes 120

On the horizon with Advanced Bionics is an enhanced HiResolution strategy that enables 120 channels of information! This would be like being able to have access to all of the keys on a piano and not be limited to hearing a small subset of them. The 120 channels processing is designed for better music appreciation and hearing in noise. This is a huge leap in technology so its very exciting to be at the point with HiRes 120 where we can look beyond basic speech understanding and really work towards the best possible hearing in the most variety of listening situations. Here’s how it works. Since the AB HR90k (and the previous generation CII implant) has what we call “independent output circuits”, where each electrode has its own power source and control, we can stimulation two (or more) electrodes at a time. This is unique to Advanced Bionics implants. We also know that the normal ear processes pitch information according to precisely where on the hearing organ the stimulation is occurring, just like on a piano with the lower pitched notes on one end progressively moving to the higher pitched notes on the other end. To achieve 120 channels, we weight the stimulation on adjacent electrodes so that the current is steered (or guided) to a neural population that falls in between the actual electrode contacts. So we are no longer limited to providing pitch information only at the location where the electrode sits, and we can provide more precise pitch information to the user by steering it to specific locations in the cochlea. Now, with these “virtual” channels (avenues of pitch information that are created at places where there are no electrode contacts) that are created in the 120 strategy, we can provide pitch information via other neural areas to take better advantage of the person’s surviving neural populations. With more pitch information, there is the potential to hear better in noise and to better appreciate music as these are the most complex listening situations.

The 120 system runs on the current PSP body processor. It will require a new BTE processor which is also in development. The 120 strategy and new BTE processor have undergone in house trials and are currently in field trials out at specific clinics that have agreed to participate in the study. Since the process is subject to FDA review, the time of release is tentative, but we are anticipating it may be sometime later in the year, pending no unforeseeable delays. This strategy and BTE processor will be backwards compatible to all HiRes 90k users, and all CII users (those implanted since about April 2001). No surgery needed for these folks that are already using the CII and HR90k! A processor and software upgrade, and likely some adaptation time, is all that is needed! There is a processor trade in program available and anyone interested should speak to their cochlear implant center about this. For those that will be implanted in 2006, they will be able to trade in an unopened Auria processor (for those that get two processors, and the used one for those that get one processor) for the new processor free of charge as soon as the new processor is available! For details, people should check with the clinic.