Model of Nucleus ‘Freedom’ behind-the-ear speech processor

Made 2003

This prototype is an example of one of the earliest and most widely used rapid prototyping techniques, stereolithography. Rapid prototyping enables designers to quickly test their ideas in three dimensions and refine their ideas before they are presented to the toolmaker or manufacturer.

The Nucleus Freedom speech processor was released by Cochlear in 2006. It follows several generations of devices produced by Cochlear over 25 years, with continual improvements in sound processing and reductio...


Ivory coloured oversized model of curved behind-the-ear (BTE) speech processor and earhook comprising three parts: the ear hook, speech processor and internal battery holder. The model is made up of 11 parts in total.


160 mm
160 mm
45 mm


Designed by Cochlear Limited, Australia, 2003-2004. Made from photopolymer using stereolithography rapid prototyping (SLA).

Stereolithography uses data from a 3D computer model to build plastic parts or objects one layer at a time, by tracing a laser beam on the surface of a vat of liquid photopolymer. This material quickly solidifies wherever the laser beam strikes the surface of the liquid. Once a layer is completely traced, it is lowered a small distance into the vat and the next layer is traced on top of it. The self-adhesive property of the material causes the layers to bond to one another and eventually form a complete three dimensional object.

The Freedom speech processor was developed in record time. The first fully functional clinical devices were available in April 2004, only six months after the electrical and mechanical design began. The very first devices available for clinical trial were assembled in SLA shells, rather than in moulded plastic shells, however these devices exhibited all the design features and were fully functional.**Cochlear Nucleus Freedom Engineering Excellence Awards submission, 2005.


Gift of Cochlear Limited, 2007
27 February, 2007

Cite this Object

Model of Nucleus 'Freedom' behind-the-ear speech processor 2016, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 22 September 2017, <>
{{cite web |url= |title=Model of Nucleus 'Freedom' behind-the-ear speech processor |author=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences |access-date=22 September 2017 |publisher=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Australia}}
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