Engineering a hearing revolution
Professor Jim Patrick is one of the original engineers who pioneered the development of the multichannel cochlear implant with Professor Graeme Clark. He is recognised as a world authority on cochlear implants.
He joined Professor Clark’s research team at The University of Melbourne in 1975. In 1981, after the first successful human implants were concluded, he moved to Sydney as a key member of the original three-man team, devoted to developing a ‘clinically applicable’ cochlear implant.
He was responsible for systems engineering and the digital aspects of the implantable stimulator, playing a key leadership role in the development of the commercial medical implant. Since then he has been a member of Cochlear Limited’s senior management team, holding a number of technology management roles, including responsibility for R&D, Quality and Manufacturing.
Today, Cochlear Limited is a global company, with annual sales of more than $800 million, more than 2400 employees, direct sales in more than 20 countries and distributor sales in more than 100 countries, and research centres in all continents. Cochlear has a global share of the cochlear implant market of more than 70 per cent. Currently, Associate Professor Patrick, Chief Scientist at Cochlear, has world-wide oversight of its global research program.
This is exploring how novel forms of signal processing can improve the performance of the cochlear implant, and how advances in biology and electro-neural interfaces can be applied to future implant designs.
He has also been involved in several projects that seek to use Cochlear technology in other medical bionics fields – sensory feedback from artificial hands and vestibular stimulation. He also leads the development of a brain-stem implant version of the Cochlear device, aimed at the restoration of hearing function to people who have suffered permanent damage to the cochlear nerve in both ears.