Finalist category: Accessibility Award
Accessibility Award, Finalist, 2021
My name is Madhav Lavakare. I live in New Delhi, India, and I am the founder of TranscribeGlass. Four years ago, my 11th grade high-school friend who was hard of hearing dropped out of school because day-to-day communication with other students was becoming an insurmountable problem. I tried to understand his problem better and began looking for solutions that could help him.
I learned that most d/Deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals use a combination of assistive technology solutions for better communication. But they are often unaffordable, inconvenient, or inaccessible. Hearing aids & cochlear implants cost upwards of £500 and require audiological examination, fitment, or surgery. Sign Language interpreters and human captioning are not readily available, and are expensive. While closed captions, especially automatic speech-to-text, can be affordable and accessible, reading captions heads-down on a screen results in a loss of important non-verbal cues, reduces environmental awareness and speaker engagement, and restricts mobility.
For the past four years, I have been obsessed with building a solution to address the communication barriers faced by people with hearing loss, especially in developing countries like India where I live, who do not have access to or cannot afford existing solutions such as hearing aids/cochlear implants. The result is TranscribeGlass – an affordable, comfortable wearable device for d/Deaf, Hard of Hearing, elderly and other people who want to improve their comprehension of spoken communication using closed captions.
TranscribeGlass projects closed captions from a variety of sources onto a heads-up display, enabling the wearer to watch the speaker, receive non-verbal communication cues and simultaneously read the captions. This greatly increases their understanding of what is being said and improves social acceptance and mobility. Caption sources include Automatic Speech Recognition, real-time human captioning, and subtitle files.
At a target price of £40, TranscribeGlass fills the void with an affordable, comfortable, accessible, convenient real-time heads-up captioning solution for the d/Deaf, Hard of Hearing, and elderly, especially in developing countries.