ZPower LLC, Camarillo, Calif, announced that it has been named a CES 2016 Innovation Awards Honoree for the ZPower Rechargeable System for Hearing Aids. Products entered in this program are judged by a panel of independent industrial designers, independent engineers, and members of the trade media to honor outstanding design and engineering in consumer electronics products.
The CES Innovation Awards are sponsored by the Consumer Technology Association, the producer of CES 2016, a global gathering place for consumer technologies. The association has been recognizing achievements in product design and engineering since 1976.
Products chosen as CES Innovation Honorees are said to reflect innovative design and engineering in some of the most cutting-edge tech products and services coming to market. The award recognizes ZPower for the company’s rechargeable silver-zinc (AgZN) battery technology and complete system, which allows that technology to be used in today’s popular hearing aids.
ZPower reports that hearing aid wearers can have varying levels of dexterity and vision impairment, yet must manually replace their disposable hearing aid batteries every few days, which is a physical challenge and also leads to 1.4 billion disposable hearing aid batteries being discarded into landfills annually. Before ZPower, rechargeable hearing aids were limited to using lower energy density nickel–metal hydride (NiMH) batteries that frequently deliver less than a full day of power.
While rechargeable lithium-ion battery technology has revolutionized battery life in laptops and smartphones, the technology’s performance is extremely limited in the very small battery sizes required for hearing aids. Silver-zinc is a non-flammable, water-based chemistry that is safe for body-worn technologies.
ZPower’s patented silver-zinc rechargeable battery technology is said to offer performance that, according to the company, no other rechargeable battery can match, with nearly double the run time of competing technologies, allowing for a full day of power in the most advanced hearing aids. ZPower battery is said to replace up to 100 disposable batteries per year.
The company sees developing better battery technology as only half the battle. ZPower wanted to make their batteries compatible with today’s most popular hearing aids as well as make the system simple to use for consumers. To do that, the company’s engineers developed a series of custom battery doors that are compatible with many advanced hearing aids from a variety of manufacturers. The doors convert standard hearing aids, designed to work with disposable batteries, to hearing aids that can be used with rechargeable ZPower batteries and charged without removing the battery.
“Our goal was to develop a system that improves the quality of life for hearing aid wearers and allows consumers to ‘never touch another battery,’” said ZPower CEO Ross E. Dueber, PhD. “We want recharging your hearing aid to be as easy as recharging your smartphone.”
Once the ZPower Rechargeable System is installed by a hearing care professional, hearing aid wearers place their hearing aids in the ZPower charger overnight. In the morning their hearing aids are fully charged and ready to deliver a full day of use.
The ZPower Rechargeable System for Hearing Aids will be displayed at CES 2016, which runs January 6-9, 2016, in Las Vegas, Nevada. The ZPower System for Hearing Aids is also featured on the CES website’s innovation page in the category of Tech for a Better World. ZPower will be exhibiting at the CES conference in booth #73053 Tech West, Sands Expo, Level 2, Halls A-C.