Stefan Liebich, Johannes Fabry, Peter Jax, Peter Vary - 1. Platz RWTH Innovation Award

Since 2014, professors, postdocs, doctoral students, students, scientists and non-scientists at RWTH Aachen University and Forschungszentrum Jülich have been honoured in order to embed the idea of innovation and foundation throughout the university.

A jury consisting of high-ranking representatives of science and sponsors from industry evaluates the best ideas and awards three outstanding projects that have contributed in particular to the standing of the Aachen region.

This year, a team from the Institute of Communication Systems with Stefan Liebich, Msc., Johannes Fabry, Msc., Prof. Peter Jax and Prof. Peter Vary came in first place.  During the "RWTHtransparent" event, Prof. Malte Brettel, Vice-Rector of RWTH Aachen University for Business and Industry, presented the certificates to the winning team for the project "Enhanced Audio Reality (EAR): Digitally Opening the Ear for Headsets and Hearing Aids".

When calling with headsets or wearing hearing aids, the perception of one's own voice is distorted. The reason for this is the so-called occlusion effect. This occurs when the ear canals are completely or partially closed by the headset or hearing aid. The presented and patented approach solves the problem of the occlusion effect by actively emitting compensation signals with the integrated loudspeaker. This leads to a considerable improvement in the perception of one's own voice and the environmental sound. This novel approach combines methods of active noise reduction (ANC, Noise Cancelling Headphone) with a personalized parametrization. The binaural headset includes two additional microphones per side, one inner and one outer, to capture signals for calculating the compensation signals. A correctly balanced processing of the two microphone signals results in a "digital ear opening" and a much more natural perception of both one's own voice and the environmental sound. The technology has great potential in a variety of applications in headsets, headphones, and hearing aids.