Wear comfort and excellent sound transmission are essential for people who use in-ear hearing aids or headsets. Since June 2015, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) and seven partners have been working in the group 3D-PolySPRINT on increasing both the functionality and wear comfort, and simultaneously on reducing delivery times. They are focusing on non-tactile imaging and combined multi-material 3-D printing processes in order to manufacture otoplastics which are optimally adapted to the auditory canal.
For a hearing aid or an individualized in-ear-headset, presently a mold of the ear is made, then digitized and finally used to manufacture the otoplastic. The project partners of 3D-PolySPRINT want to fundamentally change this approach.
Digital Mold of the Auditory Canal
Using the non-tactile imaging method of optical coherence tomography (OCT), they want to make a digital image of the auditory canal without having to make a mold. First the ear is optically scanned, and the form is digitized.
For the next step, the group Image-Guided Laser Surgery of the LZH is developing a software which converts the raw image data of the scan to a construction file. Once in the computer, the data can be further processed quickly, and molds do not need to be sent to other sites, and then scanned.
A hard core and a soft covering
Using the digitized data of the individual ear, the partners want to optimize both the function and the wear comfort of the ear mold for the customer, and avoid unpleasant pressure sores. To achieve this, the partners are combining two additive manufacturing processes, spray coating and Laser Transfer Printing (LTP), in order to join two different materials together, and to make a hardness profile within the ear mold.
The Laser Micromachining Group of the LZH is developing the necessary process, and is examining the new materials concerning their suitability, always keeping the criteria of the end users Sennheiser electronic GmbH & Co KG and KIND Hörgeräte GmbH in mind.
Increasing wear comfort and decreasing delivery times
With this innovative process chain of OCT and 3-D printing, not only the manufacturing of the otoplastics is considerably more pleasant for the customers. Also, the headset or the hearing aid would be usable for longer periods of time, it would provide better sound quality, and it would reach the customer at least a day earlier.
The joint project 3D-PolySPRINT is being coordinated by the Sennheiser electronic GmbH & Co. KG and consists of the companies KIND Hörgeräte GmbH & Co. KG, OptoMedical Technologies GmbH, Materialise GmbH, Dreve ProDiMed GmbH, microTEC Gesellschaft für Mikrotechnologie mbH, LPKF Laser & Electronics AG and the LZH.
The work is being funded within the call for proposals “Photonic Process Chains” within the framework of the programs “Photonic Research Germany” and “Material Technologies for Industry and Society (WING)” through the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research, and will be running for three years.
Dr. Nadine Tinne | Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V.
Virtual Reality in Medicine: New Opportunities for Diagnostics and Surgical Planning
07.12.2016 | Universität Basel
3-D printed kidney phantoms aid nuclear medicine dosing calibration
06.12.2016 | Society of Nuclear Medicine
Physicists of the University of Würzburg have made an astonishing discovery in a specific type of topological insulators. The effect is due to the structure of the materials used. The researchers have now published their work in the journal Science.
Topological insulators are currently the hot topic in physics according to the newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung. Only a few weeks ago, their importance was...
In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.
Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...
Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...
A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.
Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...
In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...
16.11.2016 | Event News
01.11.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
09.12.2016 | Life Sciences
09.12.2016 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation
09.12.2016 | Health and Medicine