Whether you’re sitting at your desk, at home cooking in the kitchen or in a cafe reading the newspaper, it’s likely your smartphone is near you. After all, smartphones and tablets make it easier than ever for people to connect, share and communicate with each other, wherever they are in the world. Technology that enables better, more efficient and effective communication is good, and even when that connection is with your alarm clock, a doorbell and a smoke alarm. In fact, it’s precisely these audio alerts and other sounds that the new OtoSense mobile app recognizes and translates into visual and tactile alerts, turning your smartphone and tablet into an adaptable, portable and affordable assistive alerting device.
Sounds are signals that carry important and often time-sensitive information, something which Joyce Edmiston knows all too well. For Joyce, the blogger for XpressiveHandz, who is hard of hearing, commented “I can’t believe someone hasn’t thought of this before. I can’t wear my hearing aids every day and without them, I’m unable to hear the doorbell and a microwave beeping. One day, I put the teakettle on and left the room, and didn’t hear it whistling, only realizing something after smelling metal burning. It’s fantastic that with this new app (OtoSense), I will finally know the source of sounds around me and can react as needed.”
OtoSense addresses an existing unmet need in a market largely dominated by devices with singular sound applications and/or limited sound awareness choices. The app, which was developed by a speech and language pathologist and physicist, offers a subtle yet effective means of interacting with one’s environment at home, work, while traveling, or anywhere in the world.
OtoSense, which is available now on the Google Play store, works immediately upon download, coming with a built-in library of standard fire and smoke alarm sounds found in the U.S. and Europe. Additionally, the app can be personalized by users, recording and storing the most significant sounds of their environment. A network connection is not required for users to be notified of their sounds via flash and vibration.
Also, every time an individual uses OtoSense and teaches it new sounds, it improves the sound recognition software, and this improves everyone’s experience using the app. Also, when there is a network connection, any sound recorded by OtoSense on an individual’s smartphone is automatically synced with their tablet and/or other devices via the cloud, effectively creating a “listening network” that is capable of notifying users via flash, vibration and third-party notification including SMS text and push notification, of their sounds. The app also connects to Pebble Smartwatch and Philips HUE lights. Check out the explainer video (above) showing OtoSense mobile app, in action.
Last modified: September 12, 2016