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Building hearing aids with a Linux-based open hardware board

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Since first published the story of the GNU/Linux hearing aid research platform in 2010, there has been an explosion in the availability of miniature system boards, including the original BeagleBone in 2011 and the Raspberry Pi in 2012. These ARM processor devices built from cellphone chips differ from the embedded system reference boards of the past—not only by being far less expensive and more widely available—but also because they are powerful enough to run familiar GNU/Linux distributions and desktop applications.

What took a laptop to accomplish in 2010 can now be achieved with a pocket-sized board costing a fraction as much. Because a hearing aid does not need a screen and a small ARM board's power consumption is far less than a typical laptop's, field trials can potentially run all day. Additionally, the system's lower weight is easier for the end user to wear.

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