Team Wins 'Next Big Idea' Competition at RIT/NTID

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Source: Rochester Business Journal

Hz Innovations, a wireless sound recognition system for deaf and hard-of-hearing homeowners, won the top prize in the “Next Big Idea” competition at Rochester Institute of Technology’s National Technical Institute for the Deaf.

The system has sound-capturing units plugged into outlets throughout the home that are tied into a single central processing unit. For example, when a doorbell rings, smoke alarm chimes or water faucet drips the unit notifies the homeowner via smart phone, smart watch, tablet or laptop, officials said.  The homeowner can record any sound in the home that they deem important. 

The system’s retail value is $150 and soon will be available to the country’s deaf population, officials said.

“I moved into a house and I started noticing all of the important things I was missing,” said Gregory Watkins, a fourth-year computer security student from Durham, N.C. in a statement. “I missed the sounds of my friends knocking on my front door; my washer and dryer are in the basement and I wouldn’t be able to hear the buzzing of the dryer; my food would burn because I would leave the oven on. There are a lot of people out there, including senior citizens, who have similar issues. I just came up with the idea and it took off.”

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