Genesis AI UK launch in Manchester for Starkey "in full R&D investment mode"

For the speechifying and guarantees that come with the launch of a hearing aid five years in the making, a best-fitting venue might well be a city's most opulent building, an eclectic Baroque construction erected during Manchester's industrial zenith by a mighty insurance company.

Published on 24 October 2023

Genesis AI UK launch in Manchester for Starkey “in full R&D investment mode”


Starkey launched its Genesis AI hearing aid range on October 19 in this grand location, once the home of the Refuge Assurance Company, and since 2018 an InterContinental Hotels Group establishment, the Kimpton Clocktower Hotel.

Within the accommodating tile-lined spaces of its terracotta walls, Starkey’s UK managing director and his able team laid on the grub and bubbles for some 200 invited guests – Starkey faithful and potential new customers – and set the stage for the fourth and final leg of a launch tour by the US company’s Minnesota-based executive team. Greeting the US A-team was Starkey UK MD Richard Jones, who told his audience shortly before the launch presentation: “We are in full R&D investment mode, and investment in you and our patients.”

Milan, Paris, and the EUHA Congress in Nuremberg, Germany were the landing spots over the previous three days for CEO and President Brandon Sawalich, Chief Technology Officer Achin Bhowmik, Chief Innovation Officer Dave Fabry, and Chief Audiology Officer and Executive Vice President of Product Strategy, Sara Burdak.

Showing few signs of tiredness from their Atlantic crossing and four-country journey, the four rode in with a mission at the other end of the scale from the apocalypse, but no less biblical: nothing short of a Genesis, this one a “new beginning” not just for Starkey but, if they could have their way, for the entire history of hearing technology.

The name – “Project Genesis” – was decided upon over five years ago when CEO Brandon Sawalich began a mission aimed not at making Starkey the biggest company, but the one with the best hearing aid, this qualifictation prioritised by sound quality. Such a name need not be equated with overbearing company grandeur; better to take it with a sense of the fun Sawalich finds in the panorama of sci-fi classics such as Star Trek, and his favourite Marvel Comics universe.

And the origins of Genesis AI, themselves worthy of a comic series, have the air of a superhero saga: a search across the sands of tech to find the right brains to build the sought-after super hearing aid. Scouring far and wide led Sawalich to an engineering spark who handled R&D, operations, and businesses in 3D sensing and interactive computing at Intel, also juggling with the chip giant’s computer vision and artificial intelligence, autonomous robots and drones, and immersive virtual and mixed reality devices.

With such a leader of the Starkey engineering team as Dr. Achin Bhowmik, the US hearing aid manufacturer set a name for a future AI hearing device into which hope and effort would be invested, though obviously not exclusively because Starkey continued from 2017 onwards with a busy schedule of releases of new hearing aid incarnations, including Livio AI, Livio Edge AI, Evolv AI and its refinements.

Look out for the November-December issue of Audiology News UK (05) for a planet-shaking interview with Starkey’s top executive team.


The new beginning

Genesis AI is, says Starkey, the reimagining of the hearing aid from the inside out: an all-new Starkey Neuro Processor with four times the speed of previous processors and six times the transistors (processing 80 million hearing adjustments every hour); ten times more memory; new models; a new form factor; new Starkey Pro Fit fitting software; a new MyStarkey App; improved connectivity; and, among other revelations, some impressive charging developments, such as 51 hours of power from a single charge on the Genesis AI RIC RT model, and Starkey claims 45 hours of battery life without streaming, and 35 hours with streaming.
For full details of Genesis AI (Starkey UK), follow this link

Source: AWN live event reporting