​MedTech’s got talent

The Institute congratulates PhD candidate Kyle Slater and his colleagues David Sly and Luke Campbell for winning the MiniFab MedTech’s Got Talent prize for their product nuraloop – personalised headphones that automatically compensate for hearing loss. In August they will compete against four other finalists for $40,000 seed funding.

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 “MedTech’s Got Talent is a unique entrepreneurship challenge supporting emerging entrepreneurs to develop and refine skills in pitching a business concept, developing a technology roadmap and launching commercialisation activities for their medical technology innovations.”

As the winner of a MedTech’s Got Talent prize, Kyle and his team received $20,000 as well as access to product development mentors and IP expertise to take their technology to market. They have also been recently accepted into the Melbourne Accelerator Program, which has provided capital, mentoring and office space.

Kyle said, “The Bionics Institute has always focused on developing science and technology that works and most importantly provides real patient benefit. Working within this culture with some of the world’s best minds in medical bionics has been invaluable.

Programs like the STC MedTech Challenge and Melbourne Accelerator Program are critical to encouraging and supporting people to take on entrepreneurial activities. As pointed out by Simon McKeon at the Bionics Institute’s 2014 public lecture, entrepreneurialism is often seen as a “dirty word” in Australian science.  It shouldn’t be. It may not be for everyone but starting a business is an exciting prospect for some researchers following their PhD.”

Kyle Slater established nuraloop in March 2015, with co-founders Dr Luke Campbell (trainee ENT surgeon at the Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital) and Dr. David Sly (auditory neuroscientist at the University of Melbourne, Department of Otolaryngology). They are creating a pair of personalised headphones that automatically compensates for hearing loss. The team recognised that the headphone market was enormous and growing, but current technology did not account for an individual’s hearing loss.

Kyle hopes that by showing people how much better they can hear sounds and music, people will recognise hearing loss is a spectrum (as is vision loss), and hearing impairment can be de-stigmatised.  In the long run their goal is to deliver medical grade, objective diagnostics to developing countries that don’t have access to the audiology expertise and facilities available to Australians.

In the near future, nuraloop aims to trial a take home unit. Anyone interested can register at www.nuraloop.com and will be contacted with further information.


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