Do Good Robotics Competition

IEEE NJ Coast Section SIGHT Group

Hear, here!

Globally, people with Hearing Loss and Deafness experience disparate treatment and a limited ability to participate in many settings including Courts, Healthcare, Schools, Workplaces, etc. Accommodation technology solutions are expensive, developed in silos, complicated with proprietary interfaces, not interoperable with mainstream communication technologies, and often do not overcome hearing-related obstacles. Costs may be onerous and many decide not to provide accommodation. Our Team is inspired by the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): 4 Quality Education, 5 Gender Equality, 10 Reduced Inequalities, 16 Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions.

Therefore, our Team focuses on low cost open source Sustainable AI Hearing Accessibility solutions using mainstream communications technologies including WiFi, Mobile Phones, apps, with distribution bridging the technology gap even for those with limited resources.

The Team is designing novel AI features and services to prevent and overcome disparities experienced by those with hearing loss on the new HearHere! Platform and provide experiential learning. We aim to overcome limitations of expensive hearing aids, FM systems and hearing protection which leave many people underserved and fail to resolve all issues of hearing loss, speech intelligibility, and situation awareness. World production of hearing aids is only 10% of the volume needed; many live in developing communities and cannot afford them. We will offer a sustainable low-cost network accessible solution using AI and mainstream edge devices such as smartphones, with AI learning to adapt hearing algorithms to: human hearing needs, acoustic scene, situations, speaker/sound recognition and direction, perceptual masking. AI will address the needs of a larger population of people with various degrees of hearing loss, and improve situation awareness for those working in noise conditions.

On screen captions can improve speech understanding. Our team proposes to expand the system to include up to 8 speakers and many listeners.

Our Team is creating a number of Scenarios for AI Virtual Reality Experiential Learning. With hearing loss, it is difficult to hear important sounds from the environment for example, the siren of an approaching emergency vehicle. This is difficult to understand if you have not had the experience. Together with Stakeholders, we develop Scenarios so people can understand the issues, and work towards solutions. We aim to improve training and accommodations for Americans with Disabilities Act compliance.

Our IEEE New Jersey Coast Section SIGHT Group of Volunteers will create prototypes, Storytelling, and share the solutions through networking with Connectors, Stakeholders, University Campuses, and others locally and internationally. We are branching out to various parts of the Justice System. There is substantial unmet need in the hearing loss community – especially in providing affordable accommodation, reducing disparity, and in needy and developing communities. We will use AI, network analytics, crowd and cloud sourcing to understand needs and share features with those in need. Enterprise models will enable Government Offices, Schools, Companies, etc. to use hearing assistance in a sustainable low-cost model to reduce disparities for those with hearing loss and increase accessibility. Campus, organization, and company solutions, and low cost apps for individuals will be the model to meet Sustainable Development Goals to provide access to peace, strong institutions, justice, healthcare, equality, and education. United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): 4 Quality Education, 5 Gender Equality, 10 Reduced Inequalities, 16 Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions.

The IEEE NJ Coast Section SIGHT Group ‘Hear, here!’ has a strong team with a background from Bell Labs in speech and signal processing, communications, machine learning, and accommodation. Team members from IEEE, Stevens Institute of Technology and others bring significant expertise. We network with Gallaudet University, Harvard University Law School, the BAR Association of Rockland, and others, use Storytelling, Connectors and Events to develop requirements, raise awareness, and design solutions. Our international Team provides diversity and insight into cultural, marketing, economic, and technical aspects of the project and solutions and positions us well to share solutions to a wider population.

When people have diminished hearing, even in only one ear, they experience inequities in their lives. Statistics reveal hearing loss affects social, educational, healthcare, business, employment, income, and other aspects of life. More people are living longer all over the world and approximately one third of people over age 65 have hearing loss; five percent of the population of the world or 360 million people have disabling hearing loss while the majority live in developing countries. In 2020, FDA enables personal hearing assistants on the market without medical prescription providing an excellent opportunity for the first time. We aim to address needs unmet by hearing aids in a mass communication network based market. WHO World Health Organization -- Deafness and Hearing Loss

Our Team will promote open source and Standard solutions development for Sustainability. We are also joining Standards groups to promote access to interoperability for solutions on the network reducing barriers and reducing disparity. Most hearing aid solutions offer devices that require proprietary solutions to connect with phones, public address systems, and other essential infrastructure. Our Team is committed to lowering the barriers and bridging the gaps at a low cost. With new FDA changes, we can enter this market.

The Team has developed a ‘Hear, here!’ network bridge prototype, demos to illustrate how people who have hearing loss hear speech, and several design briefs. We have conducted experiments, Events, Storytelling projects, Justice for All project in the Court System in New York, we have Connected with various Stakeholders and Experts at Gallaudet and Harvard, etc. We founded an IEEE SIGHT Group, secured some funding from IEEE USA, HAC, Events, and successfully completed our aims.

We predict access to such hearing augmentation applications will eventually become mainstream, reducing impact of aging related hearing loss for example, in the work place. With networked features, we predict that even people with unilateral hearing loss (hearing loss in one ear) who would benefit will be able to access hearing support that is appropriate to them whereas at present, many of them remain under served. We predict access to such applications will reduce economic inequities, as well as reduce social isolation in those with hearing loss and in aging populations. SDGs: 4, 5, 10, 16. We anticipate follow-up start-ups that will use this technology to generate revenues, which the founders will chaperone.

We will continue to collaborate with Stakeholders to develop additional prototypes. We aim to build two new features: share an AI Closed Caption Screen – to identify speaker and location, and view captioning text for meetings in noisy locations; and AI Experiential Learning – for the Justice System, to provide hearing persons with the experience of having hearing loss during meetings. Oculus system, smart TV, game console, memory, etc.