Thursday, 26 January 2012

Australia Day - World class innovation

The cochlear "bionic ear" was developed in Melbourne by Professor Graeme Clark in 1978. Founded in 1981 Cochlear Limited is Australian based and was featured in an article in The Age this week profiling our most successful companies in the lead up to Australia Day January 26th. More than 200,000 individuals worldwide have received a cochlear implant to restore hearing. Reading the Age article prompted this post but is was the coincidence of standing in a train alongside a man with two Nucleus 5 implants yesterday that sealed it.

I recall whilst a student at RMIT industrial design back in 1982 the involvement of my lecturer Graham Reade in early development work of the bionic ear. Thirty years on Mark Johnson who was also at RMIT industrial design in 1982 is working with Cochlear Limited on R&D. Mark is a director of Outerspace Design in Richmond and the recipient link device is a recent product designed by this award winning studio. The recipent link is an in house research tool that measures hearing aid implant and patient skin characteristics to improve future implant performance.

Cochlear recipient link device designed by award winning industrial design consultancy Outerspace Design.

RMIT alumnus industrial designer Mark Armstrong and his studio Blue Sky Design have been awarded both the Australian Design Award and the Red Dot award for the Nucleus 5 implant designed for Cochlear.

Award winning Nucleus 5 implant designed by Blue Sky Design.

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