The proposal outlines a plan to organize a series of workshops on cognitively-controlled listening devices. The meetings aim to advance scientific inquiry and computational tools for decoding brain activity and assessing cognitive functions in order to control assistive listening devices used in everyday environments. The field pushes forth current limitations in technologies such as hearing aids which take a bottom-up, hearing-centric approach. Instead, we explore scientific and engineering solutions to leverage both hearing and cognitive functions to deliver improved communication capabilities. The format of these workshops is aimed as a hands-on structure where interdisciplinary teams including senior researchers and younger trainees and students work together during 4 days to pilot new ideas, exchange approaches and compare methodologies around themes relevant to auditory cognition. The workshops, to be held every 18 months, aim to foster a nascent community of researchers spanning hearing scientists, cognitive and brain scientists, engineers and computer scientists. Benefits from the cross-training and large-scale collaborations throughout these fields will facilitate translating readouts of the mental state of listeners into effective feedback mechanisms to control hearing prosthetics and shape the listening experience. The workshop aims to engage a wider community and particularly cultivate participation of women and under-represented minorities as well as giving a voice to junior researchers. Beyond the scientific and engineering scholarly contributions, the proposed workshops will provide know-how to develop systems able to implement cognitive-aware listening devices and as such can expand the industry of cognitive robotics and assistive devices. A close partnership between the research community and industry present valuable opportunities for translational impact that benefit the field in general.
The application proposes a series of hands-on workshops focused on cognitive hearing (a.k.a. CogHear) that will advance the state-of-the-art readouts of mental states of listeners and their impact in advancing technologies and controlling hearing prosthetics as well as shaping the listening experience in everyday complex soundscapes. The workshops are organized around multidisciplinary groups of researchers spanning hearing, brain and cognitive scientists alongside data scientists and engineers. Groups will work in collaborative teams to explore scientific questions, pilot ideas, compare methodologies and brainstorm on new directions of research in the field in close partnership with industry stakeholders.