Starkey moves R&D focus from California to Israel


Tel Aviv
© israeltourism

Starkey Hearing Technologies has closed its research facility in Berkley, California, but opened a new site in Israel. The American manufacturer informed its employees at the end of June that the company is expanding its global research and development. A new advanced development centre has been opened in Tel Aviv, Israel which will be overseen by Amit Shahar, new Vice President of Advanced Development. Shahar, previously the senior director of Systems Innovations Group at Intel, is the second recruit from the Intel Corporation. He will report to Starkey Chief Technical Officer and Executive Vice President of Engineering, Achin Bhowmik, who also joined Starkey from Intel Corporation in 2017.

A shift in focus for the R&D teams was previously discussed at the Hearing Innovations Expo in January, where Dr. Bhowmik pledged to redefine the hearing aid with advanced sensors and artificial intelligence; make the best hearing aids; and turn the hearing aid into a gateway to human health and wellness. The first new product to come from Dr Bhowmik’s team was previewed yesterday (July 17th). Livio AI will be the world’s first hearing aid with sensors and artificial intelligence and will be available to customers from August 27th.

With the new focus in Israel, the Starkey Hearing Research Centre in California was closed on 29th June. Asked about the decision-making involved in this, Brandon Sawalich, President of Starkey Hearing Technologies, explained that Israel has been chosen as a new R&D location to increase the company’s global footprint. The team in Tel Aviv will focus on biosensor technology, algorithm development, audiology and signal processing research and prototype development. This is all designed to complement the research team in the main head office in Minnesota, which is responsible for 90% of the total research output from Starkey.