The „Deutscher Zukunftspreis“ and its impact
Freising/Munich, Oktober 2013. The yearly workshop of the Medical physics group took place near Munich this year. The reason was not only the 20th anniversary or maybe the group or the simultaneously occuring Oktoberfest but the unveiling of a new exhibit in the permanent "Deutscher Zukunftspreis" exhibition in the Deutsches Museum in Munich.
The exhibit visualizes the significance of the project awarded the 2012 „Deutscher Zukunftspreis“ – “Binaural hearing aids – stereo hearing for everyone” from Prof. Dr. Dr. Birger Kollmeier and Prof. Dr. Volker Hohmann (Medical Physics, University of Oldenburg) and Dr. Torsten Niederdränk (Siemens AG, Munich) and shows the public playfully how important binaural hearing (hearing with both ears) is. It presents the principle of hearing using both ears and demonstrates how this principle is applied to modern hearing aid technology.
The focal point of the exhibit is an artificial head and an avatar integrated in a computer game and navigated through an acoustic scenario. The virtual acoustic scenario with changeable binaural effect shown in the exhibit was developed by Dr. Giso Grimm from the research unit “Individualized hearing acoustics” and staged together with the Deutsches Museum and the Berlin-based company Holodyne. “The real-time auralisation of “difficult” acoustic environments in a complex virtual world with interactive control is at the limit of what is currently technically possible. We are pleased and proud that this will also make our research platform for testing future binaural hearing aids accessible to the public,” said Prof. Kollmeier. Further “viewing panels” in the exhibit show the development of hearing aids using quintessential historical examples from the ear trumpet to analogue hearing aids to the binaural hearing aids of the digital age.
“Of course, what was particularly nice for us prize winners was the fact that the entire Medical Physics group was present at the ceremonial unveiling – a special thank you for the approximately 50 employees who made a contribution to the prize and the exhibit,” said Prof. Kollmeier.
The agenda of the workshop included of course also scientific and organisational debates and also enough opportunities to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Oldenburg Medical Physics group - among others a guided tour through the world's oldest brewery.