Advanced Bionics sound processors to become Bluetooth® compatible with any cell phone* or TV, based on revolutionary new chip technology from Sonova
VALENCIA, CA, December 21, 2017 – Advanced Bionics, the performance leader in cochlear implants, today announces that they will incorporate Sonova’s revolutionary SWORD™ (Sonova Wireless One Radio Digital) chip and wireless radio technology into their portfolio of solutions. Current users of the Naída CI Q90 sound processor, and future recipients, will be able to connect to any Bluetooth-enabled cell phone. The low-voltage wireless chip provides direct connectivity to cell phones including Android™, iPhone® and even classic cell phones – with no extra body-worn streaming device required. This option has the lowest power consumption of any Bluetooth Classic device used in hearing instruments and works seamlessly with Sonova proprietary 2.4 GHz wireless protocols, including Roger™, for hearing in noise and over distance, and AirStream™ technology, enabling a new plug-and-play solution for high-quality TV streaming with excellent stereo sound quality.1
“By offering a solution to the entire market – including the more than 80% of the world’s smartphone owners who purchased Android devices – Sonova becomes the first and only major hearing solutions company to unlock the enormous potential of universal direct connectivity,” says Lukas Braunschweiler, CEO of Sonova. “Our chip will be the foundation for a wide variety of unique and innovative solutions in the coming years.”
The SWORD chip simplifies consumers’ lives by offering them the freedom of direct connectivity, truly hands-free calling, and excellent TV sound quality.1 Further, this Made for All solution means that Sonova brand users (Phonak, Unitron, Hansaton, and Advanced Bionics) are free to select their cell phone technology based on their personal preferences, and not the compatibility of their hearing instrument.
SWORD: future-proof chip is the most advanced ever used in hearing instruments
Sonova’s breakthrough chip SWORD employs the most-advanced semiconductor process ever used in hearing device manufacturing. With more than 42 million transistors placed on less than 7 mm2 of silicon, the low-voltage radio chip has the lowest power consumption of any hearing aid using Bluetooth Classic. This is made possible through the introduction of 40 nm CMOS technology, combining one radio chip and one antenna to power all applications. SWORD runs multiple communication protocols to choose the best solution for any specific application: Standard Bluetooth (Bluetooth Classic and Bluetooth LE) protocols to connect to hundreds of multimedia audio sources, proprietary protocols such as AirStream for a true plug-and-play solution with excellent sound quality for TV streaming, and the ear-to-ear communication protocols supporting binaural applications. No commercially available radio chip can fulfill these extensive requirements. The cutting-edge chip is future-proof, capable of supporting advancements in wireless features and a world of digital service solutions, such as distance support, for future generations of hearing devices.
True hands-free calling
With the introduction of SWORD technology, the lives of Advanced Bionics patients will be simpler than ever, thanks to real hands-free voice calling. Users can answer or reject a phone call by simply pressing the Push button on their hearing instrument. The ringing of the phone is heard through the hearing instrument and, once the call is accepted, the conversation is instantly streamed. The wearer’s voice is picked up by an intelligent microphone network and transmitted to the other caller, similar to the way a wireless headset works. All this is done without ever having to touch the phone.
Hearing devices double as wireless TV headphones
The new TV Connector, which uses proprietary AirStream technology, is a state-of-the-art compact multimedia hub that seamlessly connects wearers to their favorite TV programming for an immersive audio experience. It’s a true plug-and-play solution that automatically turns a pair of hearing instruments into wireless TV headphones. The TV Connector is also capable of connecting to multiple listeners simultaneously, making it ideal for watching TV together.
Filling a significant gap in the industry
As a Made For All hearing solution offering universal connectivity, the SWORD technology fills a significant gap for both hearing-impaired listeners and hearing care professionals. According to a recent report,2 more than four in five smartphone buyers worldwide choose the Android operating system. SWORD technology addresses this sizable, so-far neglected market while also providing compatibility with Apple’s iPhone. In addition, the new solution addresses the more than 23 percent of hearing instrument wearers ages 50+ who own a classic cell phone.3 Universal connectivity to any cell phone is especially important considering the intense growth in smartphone ownership over the last decade. This pioneering Made For All solution is another result of Sonova’s unwavering commitment to change people’s lives for the better.
About Advanced Bionics
Advanced Bionics is a global leader in developing hearing solutions for individuals with severe-to-profound hearing loss who no longer benefit from hearing aids. Founded in 1993 and a subsidiary of the Sonova group since 2009, AB develops cutting-edge cochlear implant technology that allows recipients to hear their best.
AB offers the most sophisticated cochlear implant system on the market, the HiResolution™ Bionic Ear System, with five times more sound resolution than its competitors. It’s designed to help recipients hear in noisy settings and enjoy the full dimensions of music and tonal languages.
With sales in over 50 countries and a proven track record for developing high-performing, state-of-the-art products, AB’s talented group of technologists and professionals from all over the world are driven to succeed, work with integrity and stay firmly committed to quality.
In 2017, Phonak, a member of the Sonova Group, proudly celebrates its 70th anniversary. Headquartered near Zurich, Switzerland, Phonak was born in 1947 out of a passion for taking on the most difficult hearing challenges. Seventy years later, this passion remains. As the industry’s leading provider, we offer the broadest portfolio of life-changing hearing solutions. From pediatric to profound hearing loss, we remain committed to creating hearing solutions that change people’s lives to thrive socially and emotionally. We believe in creating a world where ‘Life is on’ for everyone.
* with Bluetooth® 4.2 wireless technology and most older Bluetooth phones
** Bluetooth is a registered trademark owned by Bluetooth SIG, Inc.; Android™ is a trademark owned by Google, Inc.;iPhone® is a registered trademark of Apple, Inc.
¹ Field Study News under development. Full details available in September 2017 at http://www.phonakpro.com/evidence
² Global mobile landscape 2016, eMarketer, November 2016