50th Design Automation Conference – Target Compiler Technologies announced that Cochlear Ltd. has engaged Target to supply a complete software development kit (SDK) for its NEO ultra-low power digital signal processor (DSP). The NEO chip is the technology cornerstone of Cochlear’s new Nucleus 6 cochlear implant system that was recently announced at the European Peadiatric Symposium on Cochlear Implants (EPSCI) in Istanbul, enabling advanced functionality such as SmartSound iQ and true wireless audio streaming.
The NEO DSP is a very-long instruction word (VLIW) processor optimized for ultra-low power sound processing, deployed in Cochlear’s multi-processor platform chips for cochlear implants. To accelerate the development of future audio algorithms on this platform, Cochlear identified the need for an advanced SDK including an optimizing C compiler, instruction-set simulator and debugger. Cochlear first used Target’s IP Designer tool-suite to model the NEO DSP’s instruction-set architecture and validate the performance of Target’s C compiler and instruction-set simulation technology. Next, a processor-specific SDK was generated from this model. The resulting IP Programmer SDK for NEO is now in production use by Cochlear’s advanced sound processing research and development teams.
“Cochlear has been using ultra-low power programmable DSP technology in its sound processor products for a long time,” commented Carl Van Himbeeck, General Manager of Cochlear’s Technology Center in Mechelen, Belgium, where the NEO DSP platform was jointly developed together with NXP Semiconductor. “Our DSP enables continuous algorithmic innovation, which improves the hearing experience and quality of life of patients with cochlear implants. Previously, the NEO DSP was directly coded in low-level assembly code which was very power efficient but had a steep learning curve. We have been looking for an efficient C compiler to improve our design productivity. Target’s reputation of excellence in C compiler technology for DSPs and its track record as a supplier to the hearing instrument industry were key reasons to engage with them.”