Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Implant inventors to get award

The inventors of the cochlear implant are getting a big award next week. Graeme Clark, Ingeborg Hochmair and Blake S. Wilson will share in the Lasker Award for clinical medical research--along with a quarter of a million dollars.  The 78-year-old Graeme Clark is an Australian doctor who was motivated to pioneer the first multi-channel implant by watching his deaf father struggle in his daily life.  Austria electrical engineer Ingeborg Hochmair worked with her husband, Erwin Hochmair, to develop their own multi-channel implant in Europe, eventually starting MED-EL--one of the "big three" cochlear implant makers. She now serves as CEO for the company. Blake S. Wilson is co-director at the Duke Hearing Center. He is strategy advisor for MED-EL and is credited with inventing many of the critical signal processing strategies used in implants today.  The award will be given to them a week from Friday (Sept. 20) in a New York ceremony.  Read more about the award from the Lasker Foundation here and a video interview with the three winners here (no captions). Below is a video from Australia's The Age, a daily newspaper out of Melbourne, Australia in which Graeme Clark explains the inspiration that led him to develop the prototype prototype (no captions).