In my eyes at least, it couldn’t have gone better. I’ll let you make your own minds up by watching the videos. They are about 10 minutes each. ‘Switch on’ essentially consists of two parts. Firstly, the Speech processor is connected to a computer which feeds sounds directly into Alice’s implant. We hear these as beeps on the video, Alice as who-knows-what. These beeps are slowly increased in intensity to the point at which Alice reacts. This is conducted across five of the 22 electrodes to get a conservative estimate of Alice’s comfort thresholds at each point in the spectrum. A ‘sweep’ is then conducted across all 22 electrodes, programming them to the same sort of levels before the microphone and Alice’s bionic ear are switched on fully. The tests are completed in the usual testing suite, Alice has been taught to look at a speaker in the corner that lights up with a dancing Winnie the Pooh when she reacts to the sound.
At first the programme is very conservative and quiet. Over time, the thresholds will be increased allowing Alice to experience more and more sound.
The first video shows Alice reaching her threshold level with the first electrode – the moment we had all been waiting for:
The Second shows Alice’s full switch on – welcome to the world Alice:
A Small miracle, but a miracle nonetheless.