Mike’s hand built cochlear implant processor

10 10 2011

For the Geeks among us, it’s possible to build your own speech processor and save about $7,000 on buying a Harmony. A PSP body processor headpiece and cable plug into the connector at the left edge of the gold board.

Yes, there is no battery for it. It must be plugged into a wall power socket.

Yes, it must have a USB cable going to a computer.

Yes, it’s big (5 x 9 x 1 inches).

Yes, you have to write your own stim software, similar to HiRes or F120.

Yes, you need to write your own fitting software, similar to Soundwave.

This processor allows me to experiment with future stim strategies so that we may all hear better with our Advanced Bionics implants.





6 responses

10 10 2011
Sam Spritzer

Does it come with a wife switch?

10 10 2011

This is tickling my geek buds.

Sam, it’s possible to tie-in the wife switch between the power supply & wall socket. Toss in a little alternator/regulator and you can choose at which voltage the wife switch works. A microphone to gauge pitch of voice would help set the voltage too, higher or lower. 😛

10 10 2011
Howard Samuels

I think I saw a kit for this at Radio Shack! Seriously, Mike, this is big-time impressive. I’ve got to see that thing one day soon.

11 10 2011
Dan Schwartz, Editor, The Hearing Blog

Mike reverse engineering his CI processor was the easy part… Or would have been easy if it was a Cochlear or MedEl implant wired in his head back in 2006. The reason why it’s difficult is the same reason it takes 1.5-2 seconds to boot up, or re-establish lock: The speech processor downloads massive, custom built data lookup tables into the memory in the implant itself, using about 25% of the current memory capacity (with plenty of room to go).

It took Mike over six months in his home workshop to sniff the signals from his headpiece, analyze them, and break the code. Once he accomplished this Herculean feat, he then set out to write his own stim, recognizing the DSP artifacts he was hearing and then writing new code to eliminate them.

In my own 30+ years as an EE, including as a co-op at RCA, I’ve worked with some damn good ones — One of my bosses at RCA invented the VCR — and I can unequivocably say Mike Marzalek is one of the sharpest EE’s I’ve ever met. That he holds 11 US patents from his work at HP & Agilent speaks volumes of his career… Capped off with his Really Good Engineering after he retired in 2006.

Deafness fucked with the wrong guy when it bit Mike: He bit back… And HARD

Dan Schwartz,
Editor, The Hearing Blog
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12 10 2011

Yes Mike is awesome. I anticipate some great breakthroughs from him eventually. Go Mike!

29 12 2011

And if he hadn’t had to reverse-engineer the system, all that time and genius could have been making direct progress instead of correcting the manufacturer’s lack of documentation.

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