GN ReSound introduces first hearing aid that works with the iPhone

The humble hearing aid, which started out as nothing more than an an ear trumpet in the 17th century, has been bought into the modern age: the first hearing aid has been made for use with the iPhone.

The new device is capable of streaming high-quality stereo sound from Apple devices without the need for an additional pendant-like device, and combines with a mobile app to enable users to customise the sound they are hearing.

It has been produced by hearing aid technology company GN ReSound which claims the device is the first that connects with the iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch directly using a new chipset and Bluetooth technology.

The hearing aid has been made to stream music, phone calls, FaceTime calls and any sounds that can be played from the Apple devices, making the technology available to those who are hard of hearing.

It is intended to help give users of portable technology the ability to use it in the same way that those with perfect hearing can do. In theory the product can help users to connect with the latest technology and applications that they may not have been able to do while using conventional hearing aids.

The hearing device acts like wireless stereo headphones but also works as a conventional hearing aid. It has the potential to improve the hearing and lifestyles of those who have been unable to use the latest mobile phones and applications to enhance areas of their lives.

The smart hearing aid can also be controlled by the user’s mobile phone, allowing them to turn the volume up or down, adjust the bass and treble and more depending on the situation they find themselves in.

In one of its most revolutionary uses the hearing aid’s location can be found by the iPhone when it has been misplaced or lost.

ReSound’s CEO Lars Viksmoen said the company wanted to use their technology and combine it with the latest in mobile devices to help more people improve their hearing.

“We saw an opportunity to create the world’s best hearing aid by combining the capability of GN ReSound’s life-changing technologies with the compatibility and global prevalence of iPhone, iPad and iPod touch.

“We are committed to improving people’s lives through use of innovative technology and look forward to more people correcting their hearing with this new technology – a triumph in accessibility for the hearing impaired.”

GN ReSound is an international developer and manufacturer of hearing healthcare solutions.

Since its formation in 1943 it has been responsible for a number of hearing industry firsts including having the first system to eliminate howling and sound distortion.

You can find out more about the new hearing aid in the video below

Image and video courtesy of GN ReSound.

Revolutionary smartphone app uses light to diagnose malaria

A smartphone app with a revolutionary technique to diagnose malaria has been launched in Uganda.

Matibabu is an app for Windows Phone that works with a custom piece of hardware called a Matiscope. The Matiscope is a finger clamp with a built-in infrared light source and sensor that attaches to the phone.

Matibabu team member Josiah Kavuma explained: “The idea basically works with red light. Light is triggered into the skin to reach the red blood cells. Light is used to determine the state of the red blood cells to determine one’s malaria status.”

The test takes less than two minutes and the results are stored in the user’s Microsoft Skydrive account so they can share them with their doctor.

Matibabu – which takes its name from the Swahili word for medical clinic – represents a significant improvement in testing for malaria.

Ordinarily, malaria needs to be diagnosed by drawing and testing blood, which is not only painful but represents a significant expense for medical organisations.

The disease is particularly prevalent in sub-Saharan Africa, where 90% of all malaria-related deaths occur, but medical coverage in the region is by no means comprehensive.

Matibabu is designed to provide a more affordable and accessible testing option with no pain involved, and the team believe it has the potential to reduce the socio-economic costs of malaria for 300 – 500 million people.

Early diagnosis would help to improve treatment, meaning the technology could have a significant role to play in the fight against malaria.

“Our vision is to see the solution being used all over the world to detect malaria cases early,” said Kavuma. “Hence early treatment will save many lives and many unborn babies as many mothers have had miscarriages because of malaria during pregnancy.”

The diagnosis technology was invented after Brian Gitta, a malaria sufferer and computer science student at Uganda’s Makerere University, decided to develop a better way to detect malaria.

“I hated the needles and kept thinking of ways people could be diagnosed without pain,” Gitta explained.

He teamed up with friends and fellow students Joshua Businge, Josiah Kavuma and Simon Lubambo, and together they developed the Matibabu.

Although not yet in mass production, the Matibabu has already attracted considerable attention. The team has won the Microsoft Innovation Cup and a USAID contest for innovations to help developing countries, and recently showcased the prototype at MakeTechX in Berlin, Germany.

Image courtesy of Sergio Sanchez.

Video via Matibabu’s blog.