Interview with William Lesiecki, M.A., Audiologist and Director of Software & E-Business Solutions, Siemens Hearing Instruments
Beck: Good morning Bill. Nice to meet with you again.
Lesiecki: Hi Doug. Thanks! It's nice to be with you, too.
Beck: Bill, I'd like to really focus this interview on the new technology that Siemens has introduced called the iScan
Lesiecki: Sure, Doug. That's fine.
Beck: Is the iScan technology going to be released this fall?
Lesiecki: Yes. We previewed an early version at AAA in 2005, and the commercial version is just about ready to ship. During the interim, we've been completing our testing of the equipment and streamlining the protocols. It's worked out very well.
Beck: OK then...let's start with the name....what does the "i" stand for?
Lesiecki: The "i" refers to "impression", i.e. our digital impression scanner. Hearing Professionals use it in their office to scan ear impressions to capture the digital impression...and the digital record is sent to us electronically.
Beck: So the iScan is the next step on the path to obtaining a digital representation of the ear. In other words, we still have to take an excellent physical impression of the ear, but after that, we digitally scan it in the office and send that scan to you via an email, and you build the appropriate shell?
Lesiecki: Right. There is no need to ship the impression and no down time while the impression travels from the professional's office to Siemens. As a result of the impression itself not being shipped, we eliminate quite a few potential sources of error; loss, mis-shaped impressions due to glue, heat, humidity and other damage that happens as they're shipped across the country.
Beck: I guess this takes us a step closer to the ultimate goal, which is arguably a completely digital ear impression?
Lesiecki: Yes, that's exactly correct, you can consider this a next step. The ear impression is currently the weakest link in the chain, and iScan does eliminate many of the problems associated with impressions. Yet, we still look forward to the time that we may be able to obtain a completely digital replication of the ear, then that entire error source will almost vanish. We still have a ways to go before direct ear scanning can be a reality. But as you said, iScan is one step closer, and a very important step along the way.
Beck: Those are exciting goals; a streamlined process and higher quality products.
Lesiecki: Right. All of which leads to better fitting instruments, more productive Hearing Professionals, more satisfied patients, fewer returns for credit (RFC) based on fitting issues, and quicker turn around time.
Beck: All of which are terrific steps. In fact, this only adds on to the convenience set by mySiemens. I think Siemens was, and is still, the only hearing aid manufacturer with complete electronic ordering system?
Lesiecki: Yes. To the best of my knowledge, that's correct, and it really has allowed us to reduce errors across the board.
Beck: Bill, how large is the iScan unit?
Lesiecki: It's about 20 inches wide, 7 inches tall and about 9 inches deep. It has two cables on it...a power cable and a USB connector to your computer. A lid opens on the top and inside the box is the optical scanner.
Beck: It's not a LASER is it?
Lesiecki: No, it's not. It's built on optical scanning technology and uses a small turntable, a special light source and a digital camera to record the digital impression, and a process called Color Coded Triangulation to render a "point cloud" of data.
Beck: Bill...is this a product one purchases through Siemens?
Lesiecki: We will make it available for Siemens customers at no additional charge.
Beck: That's a great way to get this technology into the hands of the dispensing professionals quickly! If the readers want to obtain an iScan, do they call their Siemens rep for more information?
Lesiecki: Yes. All they do is call their reps at (800) 766 - 4500 and we'll get them set-up.
For more information on the iScan, visit http://www.siemens-hearing.com/_common/modules/aboutSiemens/pressReleases.aspx.
For more information on SIEMENS, visit siemens-hearing.com.