The Bates Cochlear Implant Project is a small group of scientists and programmers dedicated to continuing the research of the late electronics engineer John Kennedy Bates, Jr.  John spent thirty-five years researching acoustic perception and refining a cochlear implant having none of the problems inherent in current designs.

His research began during the Cold War with the design of a passive radar defense system used to uniquely identify multiple hostile aircraft and determine their compass direction – an ability replicating that of our ears. The model of the ear’s ability was unsuitable for his project, so John created an alternative model that enabled his radar system to mimic only the ear’s abilities – a time-domain model. A design that later became the foundation of another electronic device needing to mimic the ear – the cochlear implant.


John’s implant is a tested design with none of the limitations of current models. The cochlear implant industry has accepted their two century old model of the ear as “settled science” and believe there are physical laws (Gabor) that make time domain cochlears implants impossible. But that’s true only if time and frequency are considered paired. In the time domain there can be two solutions to every problem, and wearing a mask makes it easy to escape the law.


To best describe John’s life, I’ve often borrowed from the Wikipedia page of arguably the greatest mathematician of all times – Srinivasa Ramanujan (1887 – 1920). Though he had almost no formal training in pure mathematics, he made substantial contributions to mathematical analysis, number theory, infinite series, and continued fractions, including solutions to mathematical problems that were considered unsolvable. Ramanujan initially developed his mathematical research in isolation: according to Hans Eysenck. he tried to interest the leading professional mathematicians in his work but failed for the most part. What he had to show them was too novel, unfamiliar, and additionally presented in unusual ways; they could not be bothered”.


Albert Doolittle, Director

 Bates Cochlear Implant Project

This video is showing a real-time plot of the output of the PSM (Periodicity Sorting Matrix). The PSM is the preprocessor of the Bates cochlear implant and replaces the filterbanks traditionally used by other implants. When used to analyze a singer’s voice, we typically use  92 periodicity bands.

True pitch is displayed. 

Bates Cochlear Implant Project - New Directions


We’ve realized that the cochlear implant industry easily dismisses a handful of volunteers, but there is hope that tens of thousands may get the industry’s attention.

That said, and with some regret, we are redirecting our efforts towards the public. Our financial resources are dwindling, and the implant industry will never support our project. We are turning to crowdsourcing for funding. While we are likely to create false expectations, without funding, there will be no expectations.   

In the meantime, we continue to update John’s cochlear implant model and make it an Internet-friendly application. Stay tuned, and if you have any thoughts about our change of direction, email us at [email protected] 


Why Current Cochlear Implants Don’t Work


A Partial List of Unpublished Papers by John Bates

A Computational Auditory Model Based on Evolutionary Principle
A Modern Atomist’s Theory of Hearing: It began with Epicurus, 300 B.C 
A Robust Signal Processor for Cochlear Implants
A Selectionist’s Approach to Auditory Perception
A Signal Processor for Cochlear Implants – An application for interstitial waveform sampling
A Systems Approach for Auditory Modeling
A Time-Domain Processing Experiment to Test Fundamental Auditory Principles 
Acoustic Source Separation and Localization 
An Auditory Model Based on Principles of Survival 
An Auditory Theory, the Helmholtzian Mistake, the Cocktail Party Problem
An Experiment on Direction Finding -of-Arrival of Moving Vehicles 
Appendix to “How to hear everything and listen to anything” 
Can a Zeros-Based Waveform Encoding Explain Two-Tone Interference? 
Decoding Hearing: From Cocktail Party to Fundamental Principles
Experiments in Direction Finding 
Experiments on Interstitial Waveform Sampling 
Hearing Sound as Particles of Meaning 
higher-level auditory processing that leads to robust speech processing and other auditory applications 
How to hear everything and listen to anything 
Interpolater Between PRF Periodicity Recognition Gates
Modeling the HAAS Effect – A First Step for Solving the CASA Problem
Monaural Separation of Sounds by Their Meanings 
My Engineering Mind; How I invented an auditory theory using engineering principles instead of science
Progress Report on AUTONOM, an Autonomic Acoustic Perception System 
Solving the Cocktail Party Problem : Unthinkable ideas, luck, and pluck 
Solving the Mystery of Hearing: Basic Principles, Ancient Algorithm 
The Aural Retina: Hearing Sound as Particles of Meaning 
The microgranule system 
The story of the Aural Retina – Hearing Sound as Particles of Meaning
Time and Frequency: A Closer Look at Filtering and Time-Frequency Analysis
Tonal perception and periodicities
Using Attention and Awareness in a Computational Auditory Model 
Zeros-Based Waveform Encoding Experiments in Two-Tone Interference

Future Projects (Unfunded)

Singer Vocal Fault Finder (Update and Republish)

The processor in the first-generation cochlear implant was used to create a smartphone app to assist singers in visually locating and correcting vocal faults. The app gave the singer a real-time display of their voice’s true pitch superimposed on a musical staff. Within the display were fault markers.

How good was the vocal fault detector? Two reviews follow:

“The most significant characteristic of the application is the visible manifestation of singing sound properties in a convincing mathematical way. You may control almost everything, from the exact pitch of the voice and the shaky voice (wrong vibrato frequency) from the annoying “voice caprile” (“He-goat Voice with high frequency) to the unacceptable “ballare la voce (“dancing voice with low frequency and big pitch intervals) up to realize the differentiation of simple legato, tenuto, portando, portato and glissando. The students can easily understand how to control their music phrasing, avoiding exaggerations, merely because they can observe what they sing.

Zachos Terzakis Opera Tenor, Vocal Teacher, Athens, Greece

“I have used this application in my studio to visually show my students whether they are singing on pitch. Once they realize that the center of the space or line equals the center of the pitch, it’s easy for them to see their own accuracy and train their ear as well. The accuracy of the program is incredible. I highly recommend it.”

 Mark Kent – Vocal Teacher, High Point, North Carolina

Visual Speech Enunciation

This is an adaptation of the singer’s vocal fault finder. The application is intended to be an enunciation coach for those with limited hearing. The app scrolls the script of a predetermined lesson plan across the screen. As the user reads the script, the engine in the Bates cochlear implant deconstructs the speech in real-time and displays the individual elements in a format suggested by the radar plot shown. Synchronized with the user’s voice is a plot display taken from a reference speaker using the same script. The reference speaker will be of similar gender, age, and register. The user corrects their speaking voice by having their plot match the shape of the reference voice.

The user can scroll back and forth through the script, highlight areas to practice, and creates loops to practice difficult areas.  

A “Pro” version might have a recording capability and a method to download recordings for review by speech therapists. 

A “Therapist” version (different platform?) would be able to store recordings from multiple users and annotate each as needed.  

And yes, we know this website needs improvement. We welcome anyone willing to volunteer their website design service.