ILRC’s assistive Technology department includes our Nick Feldman Device Lending Library where you can try out existing assistive technologies to find out if they fit your lifestyle. Additionally, we keep pace with developments in the tech world that have the potential to improve the lives of people with disabilities. Here is one example of an upcoming product we’re eagerly watching for its usefulness as assistive technology:
Here Active Listening, a set of wireless earbuds paired with a smartphone app, will allow listeners to filter their real world soundscape. Unlike traditional noise cancelling headphones, which use specific noise frequencies to block external sounds, this product will allow for custom filtering of the sounds around you, potentially allowing you to hear certain sounds and ignore others.
The product is getting some great mainstream tech media attention, and was successfully funded on Kickstarter earlier this year. Early reviewers are excited about the potential to filter out irritating environmental sounds, or improve the sound of a live concert.
Sometimes the perfect assistive technology solution is a piece of mainstream technology that meets a disability related need. At ILRC, we are thinking about the assistive technology potential of Here Active Listening for people with disabilities. Individuals with brain injuries or learning disabilities could filter out distracting sounds while at school or work, and still be able to attend to the lecture or conversation at hand. Individuals who are blind could use the noise filtering to concentrate on important sounds in loud spaces, such as choosing the play by play over the crowd noise at a sporting event.
According to the Kickstarter page, Here will ship to its early backers as early as December. For those of us who could benefit from a customized listening experience, this is a product to keep watching.