Widex announces the world’s first battery-free hearing aid

widex

#1

Widex Named as CES 2019 Best of Innovation Awards Honoree for the World’s First Battery-Free Hearing Aid

WIDEX EVOKE™ Featuring WIDEX ENERGY CELL™ Technology to Deliver a Hassle-Free Hearing Aid with Superior Sound Quality

  • Widex named a CES® 2019 Best of Innovation Awards Honoree for WIDEX EVOKE™ featuring WIDEX ENERGY CELL™ technology

  • The world’s smallest commercially-available fuel cell reenergizes in 20 seconds

  • Leverages the revolutionary WIDEX EVOKE™ technology platform to deliver superior sound quality

  • Available in summer of 2019

January 07, 2019 10:00 AM Eastern Standard Time

HAUPPAUGE, N.Y.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Widex today announced that it has been named a CES® 2019 Best of Innovation Awards Honoree for WIDEX EVOKE™ featuring WIDEX ENERGY CELL™ technology in the Fitness, Sports and Biotech product category.

WIDEX EVOKE featuring WIDEX ENERGY CELL technology will debut at CES as the world’s first battery-free* hearing aid at the Sands Expo Booth #43735. Available the summer of 2019, this new technology is built on the revolutionary WIDEX EVOKE platform to provide superior sound quality, while liberating users by leveraging the benefits of WIDEX ENERGY CELL technology.

“With WIDEX EVOKE featuring WIDEX ENERGY CELL technology, the world will finally get to see its first hearing aid powered by fuel cell technology,” said Jeff Geigel, President, Widex USA. “Most hearing aids today use batteries or battery chargers connected to power outlets. Our new hearing aid will require neither. This is exciting new technology that will be hassle free for the user while providing superior sound quality and app control that makes the hearing aid easy to manage in any setting.”

Using what will be the world’s smallest commercially-available fuel cell, WIDEX EVOKE featuring WIDEX ENERGY CELL technology allows users to reenergize their hearing aids off the grid in just 20 seconds. It is significantly easier to handle than traditional hearing aids and never needs a battery change again.

The CES Innovation Award is the second honor Widex has received for the WIDEX EVOKE featuring WIDEX ENERGY CELL technology. The hearing aid was also honored in the prestigious Red Dot 2018 ‘Best of the Best’ Awards for Design Concepts and is exhibited in the Red Dot museum in Singapore.

Widex was also recognized as a leader in innovation in the Red Dot Design Ranking for Design Concepts. Widex placed number four out of 15 companies in the Americas and Europe region in recognition of its pursuit of design excellence over the past five years. The Red Dot Award for Design Concepts has grown to be the largest and most recognized professional design competition for design concepts and prototypes ready to launch worldwide.

WIDEX EVOKE and WIDEX EVOKE featuring WIDEX ENERGY CELL technology hearing aids will both be on display at CES Booth # 43735. Launched in June 2018, WIDEX EVOKE is the first hearing aid to feature advanced machine learning technology in real time to create truly personalized sound for wearers.

How WIDEX ENERGY CELL Technology Works

Fuel cell technology powered the space-race in the 1960s and 1970s and today, fuel cell technology is used in the car industry and in power back-up systems, though in much larger sizes.

WIDEX ENERGY CELL is the Widex technology based on a miniature fuel cell. Widex has developed the intelligent refill unit in collaboration with the Danish Technological Institute, and with financial support from Innovation Fund Denmark. The miniature fuel cells draw on DTI’s cross-disciplinary engineering skills and specialist knowledge within nanotechnology.

“Together we have created a small fuel cell that can fit inside a hearing aid without compromising performance and durability. The fuel cell powers the hearing aid through a safe electrochemical reaction using oxygen and methanol. The only waste from this reaction is a small amount of water and carbon dioxide,” says Leif Højslet, Director at DTI.

While modern rechargeable hearing aids take three to six hours to get fully charged, WIDEX ENERGY CELL technology reenergizes in just 20 seconds. For those using traditional batteries, WIDEX EVOKE featuring WIDEX ENERGY CELL technology eliminates the need to replace the battery about once a week, as well as the cost of up to 120 batteries per year.

About Widex

At Widex we believe in a world where there are no barriers to communication; a world where people interact freely, effortlessly and confidently. With 60 years’ experience developing state-of-the-art technology, we provide hearing solutions that are easy to use, seamlessly integrated in daily life and enable people to hear naturally. As one of the world’s leading hearing aid producers, our products are sold in more than 100 countries, and we employ 4,000 people worldwide. Read more at www.widex.com.

*The energy cell is substantially equivalent to a button battery


#2

OK, from what I can tell, one has to “refuel” with methanol in a 20 second process. This doesn’t seem much different in concept from changing batteries, as changing batteries replaces oxidized (used up) Zinc with “fresh” Zinc.


#3

Not to jump all over new technology etc. But flying with combustible fluids is a bit of a no-no around these parts…


#4

Precisely my thought, too. But it must be in some sort of small sealed capsule or similar that you have to break to use. Air security probably wouldn’t take kindly to anyone flying with a year’s supply or similar, though.

OTH, they let folks fly with Li-ion batteries in their laptops, tablets, and phones. In the wrong conditions, those are potentially incendiary or explosive devices, although accidents with them are extremely rare.

So Widex must have cooked up a good argument that the “recharging” device is no more dangerous than a Li-ion battery, etc. (see YouTube video in WIDEX ENERGY CELL technology link in Rasmus’ post - the HA’s are recharged via a sizeable device).


#5

I also wonder what it cost to refill the recharging unit and hon many times it will recharge the aids and how long a charge of the aids last


#6

While modern rechargeable hearing aids take three to six hours to get fully charged, WIDEX ENERGY CELL technology reenergizes in just 20 seconds. For those using traditional batteries, WIDEX EVOKE featuring WIDEX ENERGY CELL technology eliminates the need to replace the battery about once a week, as well as the cost of up to 120 batteries per year.

source


#7

It still doesn’t address the cost of the fuel or how long a charge last. I do not now about you but I would not be dragging that unit with me all day while out hiking or riding a motorcycle or even out shopping or going to meets


#8

The third bold header here states:
https://www.widex.pro/en/evidence-technology/technological-excellence/fuel-cell-technology

20 SECONDS TO GET 24 HOURS

With the off-the-grid refill unit, EVOKE EC is effortless to re-energise. You can do it anytime, anywhere.

Simply place the hearing aid into the refill well and wait for 20 seconds.

In that time, the refill unit will extract any remaining methanol and supply the fuel cell with new methanol.

This fuel cell technology gives a 24-hour run-time, so users won’t miss out on anything.


#9

That is great if true but have to understand after spending my whole work life in electronic hardware and software I never trust early development and prototypes.


#10

Any bets the recharging “well” is a consumable that you buy already filled?


#11

there is always extra cost there is no way around it. They are going to get their money on way or the other


#12

I find the technology fascinating and if it works as stated I would prefer it over rechargeable batteries. But for me there is nothing there that would make me want to switch over from standard 312s.


#13

I find the 312s in many current aids too short lived. 13 batteries last much longer.

I do not see what advantage the fuel cell aids have over rechargeable ones unless the power source lasts longer before failing. Rechargeable batteries have a limited lifespan.


#14

20 seconds for 24 hours is one definite advantage. Recharge without electricity is another. Backpackers and campers can carry a charger. My 312s die on the 8th day with Evokes


#15

I get about 3 days with my KS8s. I used to get about 5 days with my KS6s. I usually got over a week with my previous set with 13 batteries. They are about twice as thick as the 312.

image


#16

I got 6 with the Alta2 pro. Streaming could kill them in 4. Never had a 13.


#17

I thought the ear trumpet was a battery-free hearing aid. Where did they put the battery?


#18

From the video, the fuel cell seems to make the hearing aid really thick at the bottom. An aesthetic negative to me. I know that people will argue that it’s hidden behind the ear so what difference does it make? Well, it’s still visible from behind the ear for men with short hair, and in my opinion, a small hearing aid as seen from behind the ear looks a lot more modern and hip compared to a huge hearing aid as seen from behind the ear.

Also the way I see it, I only have to change batteries every 4 days or so right now. With the fuel cell, I’d have to remember to recharge every day.

It also boils down to the economics of it. Is it going to be cheaper than the $33 a year I’m spending on the 312 batteries? I’m talking about not just the replacement cost of the fuel cell recharging station, but also the premium on the hearing aids to pay for this fuel cell technology.


#19

I’m waiting for aids with a mechanical charger powered by just wiggling your ears.:roll_eyes:


#20

I’m afraid the ear wiggling charger only works if you can wiggle each ear independently… otherwise the charging in each aid cancels each other out… :smiley: