Digital Method for Improved Custom Hearing Protection Equipment
Navy SBIR FY2008.2

Sol No.: Navy SBIR FY2008.2
Topic No.: N08-153
Topic Title: Digital Method for Improved Custom Hearing Protection Equipment
Proposal No.: N082-153-1115
Firm: 3DScanCo, Inc
1412 Oakbrook Drive
Suite 190
Norcross, Georgia 30093
Contact: Karol Hatzilias
Phone: (888) 433-7226
Web Site:
Abstract: The DoD spends over $1 Billion annually on disability payments attributed to hearing loss, yet this can be prevented. Research shows that with proper hearing protection a 19% reduction in hearing loss cases can be expected. Custom ear plugs force the user to wear the devices correctly and to retain hearing protection during activity, thus eliminating improper seating issues as the primary cause of DoD hearing loss cases. Realization of custom ear plugs within the DoD has been slow because current manual/physical ear impression technology is difficult to implement on a large scale therefore a new means of acquiring ear impressions is required. A non-contact digital ear imaging/fabrication device is proposed here which would reduce DoD disability payments by a projected $190 Million per year.
Benefits: There is a need for technological innovation as there is no current method for capturing an impression of the ear canal without physical contact. There is significant commercial potential beyond the DoD in private sectors such as the Hearing Aid, custom headphone, and industrial markets. Key phase 1 milestones are: finalized design solutions, established IP landscape, 3D data capture testing, probe tracking tests, underlying structure tests, underlying structure tests, ear plug manufacturing tests, a single 3d scan from within the ear canal, phase 1 summery report, and phase 2 detailed plan. 3DScanCo has a unique combination of expertise including:  3D Scanning experience - world leading experts with over 20 years in 3D Scanning  3D Scanning Systems - track record developing custom 3D Scanning systems for NASA, Lockheed Martin, BioMet, Innovative Implants Inc, United Technologies, Pratt & Whitney etc. Wide variety of custom 3D Scanners for various applications ranging from intra-oral teeth to clothing/apparel and from automobiles to animals.  Hearing knowledge - extensive market and technical knowledge (GN ReSound, Zenith Sound)  Rapid prototyping - while on faculty at Georgia Tech was on development team for the very first rapid prototyping systems, helped develop Stereolithography (SLA) and numerous other RP technologies that have now revolutionized the industry.  Product Development expertise - sister company does world class contract product development services for F100s like Plantronics, Motorola, L3, Lockheed, Boeing, NASA, Black&Decker, Craftsman. George Hatzilias currently sits on an advisory panel with SME, as well as a board position with the Product Development Management Association, both as an expert in best practices in product development and commercialization processes.