AREA 23, AN FCB HEALTH NETWORK COMPANY, New York / WAVIO / 2019
The current products on the market for the Deaf and hard of hearing are extremely limited. Assistive hearing devices—such as cochlear implants—help indicate or amplify sound, but do not assign meaning to what’s heard. Other visual cues—such as flashing lights—help to notify of a doorbell, incoming phone call, or fire alarm, but are only single use.
There is no product available that can differentiate sounds. This leaves consumers with a handful of single-sound devices, but nothing that can distinguish a microwave from a baby crying, from glass breaking, and so on.
The limitations of inventing a product like this has been the lack of data. It would take literally millions of sound samples to create a machine-learning model that could report with any level of confidence. And that's exactly the problem we solved with See Sound, sourcing sound data from 2 million YouTube audio clips.
People who are Deaf and hard of hearing lack situational awareness. It’s the innate ability to know what’s going on around you, and that’s largely driven by hearing. It’s easy to take for granted, but not being able to access sounds is disorienting and could mean life or death for the millions of people living with disabling hearing loss.
See Sound is the world’s first smart home hearing system for the Deaf. Simply plug the See Sound unit(s) directly into your wall outlet and connect via WiFi to the app on your phone. When a sound occurs, the closest See Sound interprets it via the AI-learning model and makes a prediction based on its confidence level, alerting users on their smart devices.
This idea gives the Deaf community a renewed sense of freedom and control in their homes by finally enabling them to see sound.
Five percent of the world’s population suffers from disabling hearing loss, which includes the Deaf and hard of hearing. While everyone should be aware of the things that are happening in their home, this still isn’t the case for this population. It’s a lack of situational awareness and means that when you’re deaf, if you don’t see it—it’s as if it never happened.
Since the Deaf couldn’t hear the sounds in their home, we had to find a way for them to access sound in a visual way. So we invented See Sound to interpret household sound data and deliver visual alerts directly to users’ mobile devices.
See Sound is an AI-learning model powered by millions of sound samples from YouTube that allow it to report sound data with a high level of confidence. Working with Google, we were able to leverage a data set of over 2 million human-labeled 10-second sound clips that were manually analyzed, annotated, and organized into the Google Audio Set. Each type of sound in our data model is comprised of data from several thousand YouTube audio samples. Our machine-learning model was then trained with these data to achieve an incredibly high accuracy level.
The Deaf and hard of hearing have had to buy various different products to monitor their household sounds, but nothing that’s been equipped with sound recognition of this caliber. See Sound is the world’s first AI-powered home device with a mobile-connected approach that alerts users of household noises in real time. It is able to not only listen for a multitude of sounds, but distinguish between them with a high level of accuracy.
Training a machine-learning model how to distinguish sounds requires millions of sound samples. Working with Google, we were able to leverage a data set of over 2 million human-labeled 10-second sound clips that were manually analyzed, annotated, and organized into the Google Audio Set. Each type of sound in our data model is comprised of data from several thousand YouTube audio samples. Our machine-learning model was then trained with these data to achieve an industry-leading accuracy level.
Having earned 3 patents and invested $160,000+ over the last 4 years, we’re ready to launch See Sound worldwide. We are petitioning local, state, and federal US governments to introduce this product under the Americans with Disabilities Act’s (ADA’s) scope of accessible technology, which would allow for the government to cover the cost of the product.
Our pricing model is still proprietary, but we anticipate being similar to Google Home or Amazon Echo. If See Sound was placed in just 5% of Deaf homes in the US (9 million homes), we estimate approximately 450,000 units delivered. If we achieve our goal of being covered under the ADA, we forecast placement in 50% of homes, computing to 4.5M units.
See Sound is poised to drastically change the way Deaf people interact at home, and empower them to lead more independent lives. Finally, a smart device that helps the Deaf see sound.