Iseewhatyousay: Voice to Text software using wearable technology

OVERVIEW

Iseewhatyousay (ISWYS) was a start up focused on wearable technology and a built-in application on smartphones for Deaf and Hard of Hearing accessibility. The main feature of the device was to translate voice to text through smartphone to a Bluetooth-enabled wearable technology. The software has been featured on iOS for Pebble, Pebble OS, Android OS, Wear, and LG smartwatch.

THE PROBLEM

There are significant barriers, obstacles and struggles for human communcation that all Deaf and Hard of Hearing individuals experience every day. Communication is frequently broken down between the hearing and Deaf/Hard of Hearing individuals.

Why and how does communication break down?

Not all hearing loss are the same.

  • Auditory Processing Disorder
  • Conductive
  • Sensorineural
  • Mixed

Hearing loss is a hidden disability.

Not many individuals are aware of how hearing loss impacts everyday communication in any setting. They are more likely to repeat what they said until their message is passed to an individual with hearing loss. Most of the time, they put you on hold and put you aside if a person with hearing loss have a hard time keeping up.

Hearing loss may excludes us from participating in any social settings.

In a social setting, there will be several people talking all at once. All background noises over powers voices at the same time can be hard for people with hearing loss to participate.

5% of the world population have some form of hearing loss. That is 443 million people in the world. Source.

Modern technology like hearing aids, cochlear implants and other assistive devices have not kept up to solve instant communication.

There are other tools that can be used to solve instant communication. ISWYS was the first application to do so.

THE USERS

  • Deaf
  • Hard of Hearing
  • Elderly with hearing loss

MY ROLES

  • Product management – ideation, user testing, and prototyping
  • Product marketing
  • Deaf accessibility consultant
  • Collaborated with software / hardware programmers to develop ISWYS virtually over Google Hangouts, Gmail and iMessages

THE PROCESS

IDEA PHASE: YEAR 2010

I have had a passion on developing and researching on Deaf accessibility tools since I was 12 years old. I have discovered that there are possible undiscovered accessible features for the Deaf other than hearing aids and listening devices. I began experimenting, developing several prototypes to expand Deaf accessibility.

PROTOTYPE PHASE: YEAR 2014
ISWYS 1ST PROTOTYPE

This first prototype was developed in collaboration with software and hardware engineers. We created our own bluetooth device that can pair to android smartphone and convert voice to text to a wearable device.

LAUNCH PHASE: YEAR 2014 – ISWYS KICKSTARTER CAMPAIGN
Fundraising failed due to all kickstarter accounts getting hacked!
Check the source.
POST LAUNCH PHASE: YEAR 2014 –
DEVELOPED ISWYS APPLICATION VERSION 2 FOR WEAR & PEBBLE SMARTWATCH
TESTING PHASE: YEAR 2015
DEVELOPED AND SET UP USABILITY TESTING
I worked as a Lyft driver and used ISWYS on Android Wear to communicate with riders. Showing that deaf people can work and be able to understand passengers directions.
California School for the Deaf superintendent who is Deaf and use ASL and verbal communication tries out ISWYS Android Wear.
ISWYS demonstration of how people who are elderly lost hearing later in life.

OUTCOME

4 Game Changing Technology for the Deaf

Apps to Help Deaf and Hearing people communicate

Placed 1st place in SharkTank Startup Showcase out of 100s of start ups in San Francisco to have access to 10 Venture Capitalists –

WHAT I HAVE LEARNED
  • Voice to text was still in the early stages and produced garbled messages due to people with heavy accents, deep voice or speech impediments.
  • ISWYS generated interests and leads from the community about ISWYS product meaning that was well recieved.
  • ISWYS application was out too early for the users to get on board with smartwatches.
  • Targeting the elderly and individuals who lost hearing late in life could be the best market.
  • Hearing aids and listening devices are not the only solutions for Deaf accessibility.

<<TO BE CONTINUED>>


BUSINESS VENTURES

eSTEAM+D: an inclusive social initiative to empower people with disabilities in STEAM.

Investment Guide for the Deaf/HH: Educating and building the next generation of Deaf/HH investors and traders.

MICHAI HANLEY’S WEBSITE


VISUAL SIGN RECORDS

coming soon.