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1. (WO2019045681) SYSTEMS FOR FACILITATING OPTIMAL ALIGNMENT OF COCHLEAR IMPLANT SYSTEM COMPONENTS
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CLAIMS

What is claimed is:

1 . A component alignment presentation system comprising:

at least one physical computing device that

receives a Received Signal Strength Indicator (RSSI) signal from a cochlear implant system that includes

an external component configured to operate external to a patient associated with the cochlear implant system and to detect a wireless back telemetry signal generated by an internal component configured to be implanted within the patient, the detected back telemetry signal having a signal strength indicative of how optimally the external component is aligned with the internal component, and

a processing component configured to generate the RSSI signal based on the signal strength of the detected back telemetry signal and to provide the RSSI signal to the component alignment presentation system; and

presents, based on the RSSI signal and by way of a user interface, an indication of how optimally the external component is aligned with the internal component to assist a user in optimally aligning the external component with the internal component.

2. The component alignment presentation system of claim 1 , wherein:

the internal component is a cochlear implant configured to be implanted within the patient's head under a skin flap and to communicate with the external component by way of a first communication component included within the cochlear implant when the external component is aligned with the cochlear implant;

the external component is a headpiece configured to be disposed on the patient's head on an opposite side of the skin flap from the cochlear implant and to communicate with the cochlear implant by way of a second communication component included within the headpiece when the headpiece is aligned with the cochlear implant; and

the processing component is a sound processor communicatively coupled with the headpiece and with the component alignment presentation system, the sound processor configured to communicate with the cochlear implant by way of the headpiece.

3. The component alignment presentation system of claim 1 , wherein:

the user optimally aligning the external component with the internal component by assistance of the component alignment presentation system is associated with performing a surgical procedure whereby the internal component is implanted within the patient; and

the at least one physical computing device receives the RSSI signal from the cochlear implant system and presents the indication of how optimally the external component is aligned with the internal component to the user while the surgical procedure is underway.

4. The component alignment presentation system of claim 1 , wherein:

the user optimally aligning the external component with the internal component by assistance of the component alignment presentation system is the patient or a caregiver assisting the patient; and

the at least one physical computing device receives the RSSI signal from the cochlear implant system and presents the indication of how optimally the external component is aligned with the internal component to the user when the cochlear implant system is under control of the user subsequent to a surgical procedure whereby the internal component is implanted within the patient.

5. The component alignment presentation system of claim 1 , wherein the user interface by way of which the at least one physical computing device presents the indication of how optimally the external component is aligned with the internal component is implemented by a communication device separate from and

communicatively coupled with the cochlear implant system.

6. The component alignment presentation system of claim 1 , wherein:

the component alignment presentation system is implemented within the cochlear implant system; and

the user interface by way of which the at least one physical computing device presents the indication of how optimally the external component is aligned with the internal component is implemented by components of the cochlear implant system

including a loudspeaker and one or more visual indicators associated with the processing component.

7. The component alignment presentation system of claim 1 , wherein the at least one physical computing device presents the indication of how optimally the external component is aligned with the internal component by:

detecting, based on a change in the RSSI signal, a change in how optimally the external component is aligned with the internal component; and

graphically representing the change in how optimally the external component is aligned with the internal component by way of at least one of a color and a status-indicating graphic displayed on a graphical display upon which the user interface is presented.

8. The component alignment presentation system of claim 1 , wherein the at least one physical computing device presents the indication of how optimally the external component is aligned with the internal component by:

detecting, based on a change in the RSSI signal, a change in how optimally the external component is aligned with the internal component; and

audibly representing the change in how optimally the external component is aligned with the internal component by way of at least one of a volume and a pitch of sound emitted by a loudspeaker by way of which the user interface is presented.

9. The component alignment presentation system of claim 1 , wherein the at least one physical computing device presents the indication of how optimally the external component is aligned with the internal component by:

detecting, based on a change in the RSSI signal, a change in how optimally the external component is aligned with the internal component;

determining, based on the change in how optimally the external component is aligned with the internal component, that the external component is optimally aligned with the internal component to at least a threshold level; and

representing the determination that the external component is optimally aligned with the internal component to at least the threshold level by way of a change to at least one of a graphical representation presented on a graphical display and an audible representation presented by way of a loudspeaker.

10. A cochlear implant system comprising:

an external component configured to operate external to a patient associated with the cochlear implant system and to detect a wireless back telemetry signal generated by an internal component configured to be implanted within the patient, the detected back telemetry signal having a signal strength indicative of how optimally the external component is aligned with the internal component; and

a processing component configured to

generate, based on the signal strength of the detected back telemetry signal, a Received Signal Strength Indicator (RSSI) signal, and

provide the RSSI signal to a component alignment presentation system configured to receive the RSSI signal and to present, based on the RSSI signal and by way of a user interface, an indication of how optimally the external component is aligned with the internal component to assist a user in optimally aligning the external component with the internal component.

1 1 . The cochlear implant system of claim 10, wherein:

the internal component is a cochlear implant configured to be implanted within the patient's head under a skin flap and to communicate with the external component by way of a first communication component included within the cochlear implant when the external component is aligned with the cochlear implant;

the external component is a headpiece configured to be disposed on the patient's head on an opposite side of the skin flap from the cochlear implant and to communicate with the cochlear implant by way of a second communication component included within the headpiece when the headpiece is aligned with the cochlear implant; and

the processing component is a sound processor communicatively coupled with the headpiece and with the component alignment presentation system, the sound processor configured to communicate with the cochlear implant by way of the headpiece.

12. The cochlear implant system of claim 10, wherein:

the user optimally aligning the external component with the internal component by assistance of the component alignment presentation system is associated with

performing a surgical procedure whereby the internal component is implanted within the patient; and

the component alignment presentation system to which the processing component provides the RSSI signal is configured to receive the RSSI signal from the processing component and to present the indication of how optimally the external component is aligned with the internal component to the user while the surgical procedure is underway.

13. The cochlear implant system of claim 10, wherein:

the user optimally aligning the external component with the internal component by assistance of the component alignment presentation system is the patient or a caregiver assisting the patient; and

the component alignment presentation system to which the processing component provides the RSSI signal is configured to receive the RSSI signal from the processing component and to present the indication of how optimally the external component is aligned with the internal component to the user when the cochlear implant system is under control of the user subsequent to a surgical procedure whereby the internal component is implanted within the patient.

14. The cochlear implant system of claim 10, wherein the external component is further configured to transmit a wireless forward telemetry signal to the internal component concurrently with the detection of the back telemetry signal generated by the internal component, the forward telemetry signal transmitted at a different frequency than the detected back telemetry signal and including data and power based upon which the internal component operates.

15. The cochlear implant system of claim 10, wherein the signal strength of the detected back telemetry signal is indicative of how optimally the external component is aligned with the internal component as a result of the wireless back telemetry signal being generated by the internal component at a transmitted signal strength that is fixed.

16. The cochlear implant system of claim 10, wherein the processing component is further configured to:

perform an initial system communication characterization to determine power levels at which intersystem communications will be made during operation of the cochlear implant system;

determine, during the operation of the cochlear implant system, that the determined power levels are non-optimal based on the RSSI signal; and

perform a system communication recharacterization to determine optimal power levels at which intersystem communications will be made during subsequent operation of the cochlear implant system.

17. The cochlear implant system of claim 10, wherein the processing component is configured to generate the RSSI signal as a digital signal by performing an analog-to-digital conversion of an analog signal representative of the signal strength of the detected back telemetry signal.

18. A method comprising:

receiving, by a component alignment presentation system, a Received Signal Strength Indicator (RSSI) signal from a cochlear implant system that includes an external component configured to operate external to a patient associated with the cochlear implant system and to detect a wireless back telemetry signal generated by an internal component configured to be implanted within the patient, the detected back telemetry signal having a signal strength indicative of how optimally the external component is aligned with the internal component, and

a processing component configured to generate the RSSI signal based on the signal strength of the detected back telemetry signal and to provide the RSSI signal to the component alignment presentation system; and

presenting, by the component alignment presentation system based on the RSSI signal and by way of a user interface, an indication of how optimally the external component is aligned with the internal component to assist a user in optimally aligning the external component with the internal component.

19. The method of claim 18, wherein:

the user optimally aligning the external component with the internal component by assistance of the component alignment presentation system is associated with

performing a surgical procedure whereby the internal component is implanted within the patient; and

the receiving of the RSSI signal from the cochlear implant system and the presenting of the indication of how optimally the external component is aligned with the internal component are performed while the surgical procedure is underway.

20. The method of claim 18, wherein:

the user optimally aligning the external component with the internal component by assistance of the component alignment presentation system is the patient or a caregiver assisting the patient; and

the receiving of the RSSI signal from the cochlear implant system and the presenting of the indication of how optimally the external component is aligned with the internal component are performed when the cochlear implant system is under control of the user subsequent to a surgical procedure whereby the internal component is implanted within the patient.