Monday, August 25, 2014
"What's That Sound?" New Smartphone OtoSense App Answers the Question for Deaf and People With Hearing Loss
Today's Guest writer is Sebastien Christian. I'm excited about this new smartphone and iPhone app he has developed. Thank you, Sebastien for stopping by and telling us about your app and how it came it about. I'm so glad someone came up with something like this!
Thank you, Joyce, for letting me share my story with your readers.
As a speech and language pathologist, I have been working with and for deaf and hard of hearing people for 15 years, helping them to develop their communications abilities using sign and oral languages. During this time, I also studied semantics and physics, earning a master's degree in both, and began exploring the use of technology in helping people to live more autonomous lives.
A few years ago while I was traveling for work with my colleague, who is deaf, I soon realized that there was one problem that had no real solution yet: awareness of important industrial and environmental sounds.
Within days of learning of the challenges my colleague was facing while traveling, I developed a provisional application that turned her smartphone into a personal alerting device with flash and vibration, triggered by a high frequency noise like a fire or smoke alarm, something which she is unable to hear when she removes her hearing aids. For my colleague, my quick fix solution meant getting a good night’s sleep while on the road, and for me it was the beginning of more research and development.
Now, nearly two years later, I’ve developed OtoSense, a mobile app that is capable of learning the sounds of your everyday life, including the doorbell, the microwave beeping, the oven buzzer, a dog barking, your telephone ringing, knocking at the door, as well as the sounds of fire and smoke alarms. As a mobile app, OtoSense notifies you by flash, vibration and you can have any sounds notify a friend or family member via SMS text.
Like my colleague, who was seeking a good night sleep while traveling, OtoSense gives you the freedom to go anywhere in your house, outside, and at work or school and be aware of the sounds that are important to you.
In sharing news of OtoSense with Joyce, she wondered why someone hadn’t thought of this before. Well, there is technology, but in our opinion it’s expensive, bulky and it does not include all of the sounds that we encounter in modern life.
I hope you'll join us now in trying OtoSense, designed to make your life easier. In our opinion, technology should be accessible and affordable to be considered useful. OtoSense will be available on Android phones and tablets (The Google Play Store) starting Monday, September 8th and on iPhones and iPads in October. You can learn more about OtoSense, watch demonstration of the app, see the feedback from focus groups and sign up for updates on our website .