On Semiconductor has introduced a compact open-programmable digital signal processing (DSP)-based hybrid, the Ezairo 7150 SL, which enables wireless connectivity in hearing aids and cochlear implants.

By integrating an audio DSP, EEPROM memory and a radio IC into a single miniature package, the hybrid module provides hearing aid manufacturers with the ability to incorporate advanced wireless features into their design without compromising overall system size, according to the company. This, in turn, allows the wearer to control features such as volume levels and program changes of their hearing aid directly with their smartphone through a Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) connection.

Using a 2.4GHz proprietary protocol, Ezairo 7150 SL also allows the wearer to stream audio from any media source, such as a TV or music system, using a remote ancillary device, according to the company.

On Semiconductor has also rolled out two smart passive sensors, the SPS1M and SPS2T, which the company says dispense with the need to have a microcontroller or battery at each sensing node (with power, cost and space benefits all resulting). The ultra-thin devices are able to work autonomously to sense key parameters—temperature, moisture, pressure and proximity—in a highly energy efficient manner that allows for all power needs to be satisfied through energy harvesting. They can deliver battery-free wireless networking without requiring periodic maintenance, thereby reducing the associated operational costs.

Both the Ezairo 7150 SL DSP-based SoC and the smart passive sensors have been chosen by the Consumer Technology Association as a CES 2017 Innovation Awards honoree in two different categories. The Ezairo 7150 SL audio processing hybrid module was cited in the Tech for a Better World category, while the smart passive sensors received the award in the Embedded Technology category.