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AI-Powered Device Helps The Deaf Community ‘See’ Sound

Wavio and Area 23 show off their new device that uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to notify users of environmental sounds.

For those in the deaf community, living alone has its challenges.

“I remember there was a little girl who was running around my house. She ended up getting hurt but I was on the other side of the room and I didn’t hear her,” Greyson Watkins recalled in an interview with CRNtv.

Watkins is the CEO and co-founder of Wavio, along with Spencer Montan and Branon Marin. They’re a deaf team, trying to solve audio-related problems with artificial intelligence and machine learning.

“These machines are able to be trained to hear these sounds and the sounds will inform us of what’s happening in our environment,” explained Watkins.

Formed in 2015, Wavio developed a sound recognition software called SoundAI that can be implemented into smart devices. The software can detect environmental sounds and will then send notifications to the user through the device. The New York City-based advertising company Area 23 is currently using Wavio’s software in its smart home device, See Sound, which is the first smart device for the deaf and hard of hearing.

“It’s really simple how it works: You plug it into your wall, ideally the different rooms of your house. It just listens. It listens for 75 sounds that it’s programmed to hear. When a sound occurs, it will compare it to an algorithm of data of all these different sounds and make a match. Once it makes a match it will send that prediction to a phone with a percentage of accuracy,” explained Kristen Bell, group art supervisor at Area 23.

See Sound is still undergoing testing with a release date set for next year, but it’s already turning heads. The device won the top innovation award at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity.

Watch CRN’s video to learn more.

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