SoundWatch smartwatch app alerts d/Deaf and hard-of-hearing users to sounds

October 28, 2020 | UW News

UW CREATE faculty members Jon Froehlich and Leah Findlater have helped develop a smartwatch app for d/Deaf and hard-of-hearing people who want to be aware of nearby sounds. The smartwatch will identify sounds the user is interested in — such as a siren, a water faucet left on, or a bird chirping — and send the user a friendly buzz along with information.

“This technology provides people with a way to experience sounds that require an action… [and] these devices can also enhance people’s experiences and help them feel more connected to the world,” said lead author Dhruv Jain, a UW doctoral student in the Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering.

A wrist with a smartwatch on it. The smartwatch has an alert that says "Car honk, 98%, Loud, 101 dB" It also has options to snooze the alert for 10 minutes or open in an app on the user's phone.
The SoundWatch smartwatch app that identifies nearby sounds and alerts wearers. Jain et al./ASSETS 2020

The team presented their findings Oct. 28 at ACCESS, the ACM conference on computing and accessibility.

Learn more about SoundWatch, the full team and how the smartwarch app evolved from a collection of tablets scattered around a house.

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