A brand new smartwatch app alerts customers who’re deaf or laborious of listening to of close by sounds, corresponding to microwave beeps or automobile horns.
“The primary motivation [for the app] got here from my very own expertise, and conversations that my colleagues and I’ve had with deaf and laborious of listening to individuals over a number of years,” says Dhruv Jain, who introduced the system, referred to as SoundWatch, on the digital ASSETS convention on October 28.
Jain, who is difficult of listening to, makes use of SoundWatch at residence to keep away from sleeping by means of a smoke alarm. “On a nature stroll, it’ll inform me that there’s birds chirping, or there could be a waterfall close by,” he says. “These sounds make me really feel extra current and linked to the world.”
Sound consciousness apps for smartphones exist. However Jain prefers the immediacy of sound notifications on his wrist, fairly than in his pocket — and surveys of people who find themselves deaf or laborious of listening to present he’s not alone.
The SoundWatch app pairs an Android smartwatch and cellphone. The watch data ambient noises and sends that knowledge to the cellphone for processing. When the cellphone detects a sound of curiosity, the smartwatch vibrates and shows a notification.
Jain, a pc scientist on the College of Washington in Seattle, and colleagues designed the app to establish 20 noises. In experiments, SoundWatch accurately recognized these 20 sounds 81.2 p.c of the time. When set to pay attention just for pressing noises — a fireplace alarm, door knock or alarm clock — the app was 97.6 p.c correct. Eight deaf and laborious of listening to individuals who used SoundWatch round a college campus gave the app broadly favorable opinions, however famous that the app misclassified some sounds in noisy out of doors settings.
Jain and colleagues at the moment are engaged on a model of SoundWatch that customers can practice to acknowledge new sounds, corresponding to their very own home alarm, utilizing only a few recordings.