Professor Branko Celler
Prof. Celler is Principal Scientist at the CSIRO Centre for Computational Informatics. He is a Fellow of the Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering (ATSE) and an Emeritus Professor at the University of NSW.
He is recognised internationally for his research on telehealth for the management of chronic disease in the home, the community, residential care and rural and remote areas and founded a company that is now operating internationally and is recognised for its innovation and excellence in telehealth.
He has received more than $15m in competitive research funding from sources as varied as the ARC, NH&MRC and DOHA and has published more than 220 refereed conference proceedings, Journal papers and book chapters.
Kevin Crowe is currently Chief Engineer, Design & Development at Cochlear. He is also the chair of the HE-012 “Surgical Implants” committee for Standards Australia and is a member of AAMI and ISO standards committees responsible for the development of international standards for Active Implantable Medical Devices.
Kevin joined Cochlear 10 years ago, initially as the Head of Sound Processors and Accessories Design & Development before becoming the Chief Engineer in 2010. Prior to joining Cochlear, Kevin worked in the Telecommunications and Security Electronics industries for Alcatel, Philips and Bosch. His roles included various Design Engineering and Engineering Management roles in product development.
Kevin has a BSc(Eng) degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of NSW.
Keynote Speech: “Integrating Cochlear Implant Users into the Wireless World”
Abstract: Cochlear implants have been around for over 30 years to restore the hearing for the severely and profoundly deaf or when hearing aids are not effective. Ironically, cochlear implant recipients have been early adopters of body area networks. They have been using a wireless link for 30 years, to send audio and power from an external electronic processor through the skin to the implant. However, they still had to use a myriad of cables for a number of use cases, including a direct audio connection the TV, use of an external microphone or FM systems to improve the signal to noise or during programming of their cochlear implant system in a clinic. Cochlear recognised the opportunity to leverage wireless technologies to eliminate cables for these use cases so that a cochlear implant recipient can now enjoy all of the benefits of full wireless connectivity, eliminating the need for cables in most cases. However, there were a number of challenges that needed to be addressed. Power consumed for a wireless system is very important to a cochlear implant system as this determines the size and life of batteries used to power the system. Conflicting with this is the need for high data rates and low latency required for streaming audio and other applications. A cochlear implant uses electronics to directly stimulate the nerves in the Cochlear so the implant recipient perceives the sound. This needs to be carefully controlled as excessive electrical stimulation can result in severe pain and tissue damage. This is also the case for other active implantable medical devices (AIMD) including pacemakers where the disruption of the electrical stimulation can even be potentially life threatening. Such a disruption may result from electromagnetic (EM) interference from sources in the environment. Recent developments in other industries have increased these risks. A push from the retail industry has led to Electronic Article Surveillance systems to now use much higher EM levels so that the security gate at the entrance to a store can be up to 8 metres wide. The move to wireless charging of devices from toothbrushes to electric cars has also increased the EM levels that a user may experience. Cybersecurity is an issue for any networks because of the risk of loss of privacy or sensitive information. In the case of AIMD including cochlear implants there are the additional risks that such attacks could result in harm to the user. The FDA has recognised this risk and has published a guidance document to help medical device manufacturers to manage this risk.