The cochlear implant system has long development lead times. Technology advances need to be anticipated when developing products.
Cochlear's fourth generation cochlear implant system, Nucleus® Freedom™, was released in 2005. Nucleus Freedom is based on 25 years of experience in cochlear implant research and development; integrating the latest advances in medicine, implantable materials, electronic technology, sound processing, as well as feedback from customers.
A collaborative approach is taken with the development and design of the cochlear implant system, which involves multi-disciplinary teams within Cochlear and formation of global partnerships with leaders in their fields.
Nucleus Freedom system
The major components of the Nucleus Freedom system are:
- Cochlear implant (A)
- Coil (B)
- Sound processor (C)
Begin the design of the fourth generation customised cochlear implant micro-chip, in Sydney. The micro-chip design involved integrating as many functions as possible on a single integrated circuit to meet Cochlear's key design goal of reliability.
Begin the design of the CHAMP sound processor chip, in Belgium. The chip design involved joint development between Cochlear and Philips.
The customised digital integrated circuit has four parallel Digital Signal Processors on a single microchip which ensures less power consumption while enabling more complex coding strategies.
Global market research is conducted worldwide to ensure the outcomes of Cochlear's target audiences are addressed and validated against outcomes.
First Nucleus Freedom cochlear implant surgery.
Cochlear works in partnership with clinics and surgeons to ensure the design goals are met and better hearing outcomes are achieved.
Nucleus Freedom sound processor phase:
- System concepts evaluated to ensure the goals of the system are met. An intensive workshop of system designers meet to make decisions and choose the system's features based on goals achieved.
- First person trials sound processor CHAMP chip and hears sound.
- System design phase completed in November 2003 following the successful integration of the system's various components.
Functional sound processor models are developed and recipients fitted with the experimental sound processor. Recipients provide feedback about the experimental processor's sound quality, usability, etc.
Clinical trials begin a few months after the successful completion of the experimental take-home processor trial and validation of the Custom Sound programming software. The clinical trial and speech perception testing begins with two subjects in Sydney. Later during the year, the clinical trials are expanded globally.
Nucleus Custom Sound market acceptance testing.
Custom Sound software is released in a phased approach to audiology clinics worldwide. Training is provided to audiologists prior to releasing the Freedom sound processor to give audiologists time to learn the software and provide feedback.
Cochlear's fourth generation cochlear implant system, Nucleus Freedom, is released mid-2005, in regulatory approved markets, worldwide.
40,000 people in 80 countries are hearing every day with the Nucleus Freedom system