Q is a wearable captioning device for people with significant hearing loss.


BRIEF

For 14 weeks, we were tasked to redesign the real-time captioning experience for people with moderate to profound hearing loss. 

 

SOLUTION

Q is a wearable captioning device that allows users to read text with embedded emotion, feel missing phonetic sounds, and bookmark transcripts in real-time for future use. 


Accolades

 

Team members  

Leah Demeter, graphic designer

Daniela Cardona, product designer 

Emin Demirci, product designer

Jeff Smith, product designer

 


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Product Features
 

SOcial Impact

  • Social inclusion leads to personal and professional development.
  • Increasing interpersonal relationships.
  • More confident and independent individuals.

USER BENEFITS

  • Better control of conversation situations without relying on stenographers.
  •  Increased eye contact with temporary captioning.
  • More meaningful conversations by understanding emotional subtleties.

Emoticaption

 

EmoticaptionING CUES

A graph that displays more emotional aspects of the conversation by showing:

1. Emphasis/Duration:The width of the wave

2. Frequency: The light hue is low pitch while the dark hue is high pitch

3. Volume: The amplitude of the wave

 

340 million people worldwide live with a significant hearing loss.

TYPES OF HEARING LOSS

There are five types of hearing loss: normal, mild, moderate, severe, and profound. Depending on the type of loss a hearing person has, there are certain phonetic sounds that they cannot hear. An audiogram displays all audible sounds and graphs what a person can and cannot hear. The speech banana contains sounds heard in speech.

 

 

 

 

 

five types of hearing  

Normal

Mild: 30 dB
(difficulty hearing a whisper)

Moderate: 60 dB
(difficulty with normal conversation)

Severe: 90 dB
(difficulty hearing a motorcycle)

Profound: 120 dB
(difficulty hearing loud rock music)


Real-time Captioning

Existing technology

People with hearing loss who do not use sign language reply on captioning to follow conversations. Captioners use stenograph machines to write at 275 words per minute.

 

Interviews

Primary research

Our team conducted six interviews to better understand what it is like living with a hearing loss.

 
Coco mild hearing loss Uses a hearing aid but does not use captioning

Coco
mild hearing loss

Uses a hearing aid but does not use captioning

Jayna severe hearing loss Uses a hearing aid and uses captioning

Jayna
severe hearing loss

Uses a hearing aid
and uses captioning

Leah profound hearing loss Wears a cochlear implant and uses captioning

Leah
profound hearing loss

Wears a cochlear implant and uses captioning

Dr. Houston Speech Therapist Works with patients who have a hearing loss

Dr. Houston
Speech Therapist

Works with patients who have a hearing loss

Diana Real-time Captionist Has worked in court, business, and school settings

Diana
Real-time Captionist

Has worked in court, business, and school settings

Cindy Real-time Captionist Has worked in court, business, and school settings

Cindy
Real-time Captionist

Has worked in court, business, and school settings


Interview Takeaways:
Identifying User Needs

 

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Control

Users want to control the situation without being intrusive.

Portability

It is difficult to be mobile with the current captioning equipment.

Privacy

It is difficult to build personal relationships with the captioners following the user around. 

Empowerment

Empower the user's confidence and independence. 


Gaining User Empathy:
The Earplug Experiment 

Participatory RESEARCH

Since I am profoundly deaf, most people don't realize how difficult it is to have a hearing loss on a day-to-day basis. My teammates went through an entire day at school wearing earplugs to better understand what it is like to experience social situations with a hearing loss. 

 

 
The earplugs that my teammates wore gave them the equivalent of a mild hearing loss. 

The earplugs that my teammates wore gave them the equivalent of a mild hearing loss. 

My team needed to rely on my captioning to understand what was going on during class presentations. 

My team needed to rely on my captioning to understand what was going on during class presentations. 


Experiment Takeaways

 

 

Repeat Requests

My teammates had to ask people to repeat what they said often.

Voice Volume Unawareness

They were unaware of the volume of their own voices.

Isolation Feeling

They felt distant from others because they could not hear people speaking more than a few feet away. 


Collaboration 

Ideation Process

We did all brainstorming, ideation, and prototyping  as a group for long hours outside of class. We did sketching on large pieces of  butcher paper which allowed us to see and discuss our sketches and build on each other's ideas.