SoundSense: Audio awareness of what's around you
SoundSense: Audio awareness of what's around you
For individuals who cannot hear, this is your personal alert to the sounds of alarms, sirens and traffic, or even friends calling out.
For individuals who cannot hear, this is your personal alert to the sounds of alarms, sirens and traffic, or even friends calling out. Read more
About this project
Imagine a future where people with disabilities have high-tech tools that augment their senses. Picture a person with visual impairments "feeling" their environment around them, feeling that a car was coming before it got near, or feeling that a friend was walking up to them.
We believe that thanks to recent leaps in machine learning and sensory technology, incredible devices are possible today that can change what it means to have a disability. We want to make sure that these advancements go to the people who need them most.
Our first product is the SoundSense, a small device that people with hearing loss can wear to recognize loud sounds and alerts, such as smoke alarms, police sirens, or just a friend calling out on the street or laughing outrageously across a room.
Until now, technology options for people with hearing loss have largely remained limited to hearing aids - which don’t work for those who are completely hearing impaired. SoundSense uses vibration to alert the user to events, partly to improve safety, but more generally to enable connections with the world in ways most take for granted.
The SoundSense has a microphone connected to a microchip and motor inside of a 3D-printed shell. When a noise above a certain volume is detected, the motor (a larger version of the one in your cell phone) starts to vibrate. This notifies the wearer that there’s something nearby that needs attention, ultimately giving him or her greater awareness and confidence in going through their day.
Shortly after launch we’ll be putting the full schematics, design, and parts list for SoundSense on our homepage for open-source sharing so anyone in the community can improve upon it. As we continue to grow you’ll additionally find other project concepts and unmet challenges offered up by friends from the disability community.
(Subscribe on furenexo.com to learn when new challenges are posted.)
Our mission is bringing practical technologies to life to empower people with disabilities. By achieving our funding goals, we’ll be able to continue tackling sensory challenges - using small, effective and affordable products like the SoundSense to drive additional development towards once-unimaginable solutions.
Looking beyond SoundSense, we’re bringing the object and facial recognition abilities that are already common in each of our computers and phones to people with low vision/blindness. It’s a big challenge, but one we are working on together with our partners from Easter Seals, Access-4-all and other organizations and individuals. We want to fulfill the vision of the future where the coolest new tech isn’t just made for video games, personal clothes-folding machines, or "Uber for dry-cleaning" - but really changes the world for good.
We’re Furenexo, a NYC-based Public Benefits startup that’s using very familiar technology to change people’s lives in a meaningful way. We are a rapidly-growing, passionate group of friends with technology and business backgrounds who believe that the person matters more than the disability. We’re out to change the way the assistive technology industry works by crushing barriers to innovation in this market.
Maybe you know someone with a disability or your family has been affected by one. Perhaps you’re a maker and you want something new and challenging to work on. Maybe you simply care about issues that have gone overlooked too long. Whatever the reasons, you only need to find ONE.
Back us. Join us. Share this project. Make a difference. Give a little and get more in return as we shape a new future for all of us.
Brian Goral & Eric Skiff (Co-Founders of Furenexo, PBC.)
If you want to order more than 1 device, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Risks and challenges
MANUFACTURING & SHIPPING
In going from prototype to full production model, we tried to anticipate potential supply chain challenges; however, unexpected delays may arise as we seek to deliver the highest quality products to backers:
- Confirming appropriate fulfillment partners to handle the scale we reach
- Confirming fulfillment partners respect workforce and environmental standards
- Addressing assembly and shipping processes/costs at varying scales
- Decisions to incorporate additional user feedback
We are committed to transparency and open communication. In the event our estimated delivery timelines are affected, we will let backers know right away and clarify any causes for delay.
In several of the reward tiers, we are providing a SoundSense to people who can benefit from one, as identified through our partner network. The ultimate quantity we will provide depends on backer interest.
Due to privacy issues we won’t be able to disclose to backers the names of final device recipients. However, for backers of these tiers who are willing to share their name with an individual SoundSense recipient, we do plan to set up an option for the recipient to say, “Thank You”.
There are many distinct disabilities and different types of people across all facets of disabilities. People from within these groups have asked us to communicate how it's not the people who need to be fixed. In other words, people with disabilities are not "broken". That which is broken includes the way society has treated so many of our friends, neighbors, and veterans; the way technology advancements have ignored them; and the way so many aspects of daily life have been designed without consideration of their needs. We are working with individuals and partners who are aware of these issues, so that we can gain insight into how we can best apply technology toward effective and affordable solutions. The founders (namely Eric & I) are not from these communities, and we know that some with differing viewpoints may not agree with our approach. We are introducing Furenexo with sincere intentions, and we are listening—so please send us messages with any suggestions or comments. Help us learn and work toward the best solutions.
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