Blake S. Wilson is an American research scientist best known for his role in developing signal processing strategies for the cochlear implant. His undergraduate and Ph.D. degrees, from Duke University, are in electrical engineering. He also holds a D. Science degree from the University of Warwick and a D. Engineering degree from University of Technology, Sydney. In addition, he has been awarded the Dr. med., honoris causa, from Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden and from the University of Salamanca, Salamanca, Spain.
His initial research projects investigated (i) sound source localization in humans and bats and (ii) the effects of microwave radiation on the auditory system. In 1977, he began work as a research engineer at Research Triangle Institute in the Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, USA. He was the head of the Neuroscience Program from 1983-1994, the Director of the Center for Auditory Prosthesis Research from 1994-2002, and was a Senior Fellow from 2002-07.
In 1983, Wilson received the first of 7 contracts (1983-2005) from the Neural Prosthesis Branch of the National Institutes of Health to investigate sound coding strategies for cochlear implants. This long period of continuous funding allowed him to investigate multiple signal coding strategies. The best known is the high-rate, continuous interleaved sampling, or CIS, processor. Among many other features, CIS presents non-simultaneous pulses to the different electrodes in the implant, which greatly reduces deleterious interactions or ‘crosstalk’ among the electrodes. Other signal coding strategies developed and implemented in his laboratory include predecessors of the Fine Structure Processing (FSP, FS4) strategies and of the Fidelity120 virtual channel strategy. In collaboration with Cochlear Americas, Duke University and the National Institutes of Health, Wilson’s group also developed and evaluated a high pulse rate, channel-picking strategy. A direct outcome was the advanced combination encoder, or ACE strategy.
In 2013 Wilson (with G. Clark and I. Hochmair) was awarded the Lasker-DeBakey Clinical Medical Research Award “for the development of the modern cochlear implant.” In 2015 (with G. Clark, E. Hochmair, I. Hochmair, and M. Merzenich) he was awarded the Fritz J. and Dolores H. Russ Prize from the National Academy of Engineering (USA) “for engineering cochlear implants that allow the deaf to hear.”
- Wilson, Blake (2012). . San Diego, Plural Publishing, Inc.
- Niparko JK, Kirk KI, Mellon NK, Robbins AM, Tucci DL, Wilson BS (Eds.), Cochlear Implants: Principles & Practices, Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Philadelphia, PA, 2000.
- Niparko JK, Kirk KI, Mellon NK, Robbins AM, Tucci DL, Wilson BS (Eds.), Cochlear Implants: Principles & Practices, Second Edition, Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Philadelphia, PA, 2009.