Press Release - GNU/Linux powers state-of-the-art hearing aid research
Isle of Wight, UK, 2nd September 2010
The next generation of digital hearing aids is being developed and tested on real-time GNU/Linux systems from 64 Studio Ltd, using dedicated multi-channel audio interfaces and standard Lenovo notebooks.
HörTech gGmbH is a not-for-profit company based in Oldenburg, Germany, specializing in research on hearing impairment and augmentation technology. At the Haus des Hörens facility in Oldenburg, university and industry researchers collaborate on new software algorithms which will one day be available to the general public in hearing aid products.
Researchers needed a mobile platform which could process audio from the six miniature microphones in the binaural hearing aid devices with the lowest delay possible. All digital audio processing introduces latency, but if the delay is greater than a few milliseconds, the hearing aid wearer will begin to perceive a mismatch between what they can see or feel and the sound in their ears.
64 Studio was commissioned by HörTech to create a GNU/Linux real-time audio distribution, code-named Mahalia, optimized for the Lenovo Thinkpad X200 notebook. Giso Grimm of the Carl von Ossietzky-Universität Oldenburg explained: "We prefer to use ready-to-use Linux audio distributions over patching the kernel ourselves, since our expertise is in signal processing, not kernel development. When we were faced with the fact that our then favourite audio distribution failed to deliver stable real-time kernels for several releases, we asked 64 Studio to tailor us a customized distribution with a working real-time kernel that matched our specific needs and ran stable on the selected hardware."
"64 Studio created a distribution that met our needs with a stable, current real-time kernel and all the audio applications that we needed. They provided support to us and our partner labs to get the distribution up and running. The system since runs stable and lets us concentrate on our real task, optimizing the signal processing for the hard of hearing."
Notes for editors
64 Studio Ltd. produces bespoke GNU/Linux distributions which are compatible with official Debian and Ubuntu releases. Specializing in multimedia and digital content creation platforms which we develop for our OEM partners, we also offer support, documentation services and consultancy. Our software is already included in several shipping products in the professional audio market, with more to follow. In addition, we offer a free download product which has won critical acclaim for its stability and high performance.