Cognitive Control of a Hearing Aid Horizon 2020

 

The Cognitive Control of a Hearing Aid (COCOHA) Horizon 2020 project (2014-18) had the ambitious aim of creating a hearing-aid system that can be mentally (cognitively) steered by the user. Advanced signal processing techniques, such as beamforming and source separation, have the potential of isolating and enhancing individual sound sources in a complex acoustic environment. However, selecting which source to enhance (i.e. steering the hearing-aid) presents a major challenge. In this project, methods and algorithms was developed to decode brain signals picked up by EEG electrodes, and to extract attention and intention signals, matching them to acoustic sources in the environment. The hearing aid will then identify and enhance the sound source that is being attended. The results of the project brought focus  on the mechanisms and limits of auditory attention and provided a first step towards a wider application of advanced brain-computer interfaces (BCIs) in controlling prosthetic sensory systems.