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Open 17 : Summer Edition 2020

Open 17 : Summer Edition 2020

by lebel.juliette1 mehdi.dolleans86 nour | updated July 29, 2020

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Our device, “Le Cat” helps hearing-impaired people who want to be aware of their surroundings and potential dangers.

Unlike currents hearing aid, our headphones will be more affordable, made with upcycled and locally-sourced components, and will look less as a medical device.  

Our goal is to deliver our first prototype and to test it with our end users.

Our next step is to provide an open-source manual that permits people to make their own version of their product using components they can find locally.

Juliette Lebel, Mehdi Dolleans and Nour Ben Salem

July 17, 2020 at 5:30 AM
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We are three students who want to discover, learn and be useful to others :

  • JulietteDouble-Degree in Biomedical studies & Psychology
  • MehdiPharmacy Student
  • NourEconomics, Management & CSR Student

Our team was created following Nour's proposal for a great project: helping people with hearing loss. This project won us all over and we decided to work together to try and make it happen.

Each of us has to adopt a teacher and student position at various moments of the day. Sometimes one may have more skills, and it’s crucial to help others progress and reach the same level.

July 17, 2020 at 5:31 AM
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Unilateral hearing loss means that hearing is normal in one ear but there is hearing loss in the other ear. UHL can occur in both adults and children. 

There are different types of unilateral hearing loss :

  • Sensorineural hearing loss : damage or dysfunction of the inner ear
  • Conductive hearing loss : a malfunction in the sound transmission pathways to the inner ear. Affects either the outer ear or the middle ear
  • Mixed hearing loss : combination of conductive and sensorineural hearing loss

Unlike people who hear sounds in both ears, people who are unilaterally deaf cannot determine where the sound is coming from. In some cases this can be very dangerous. For example, if a car is coming towards them very fast, they will hear it but they will not be able to tell where the sound is coming from. To find out, they will have to check with their eyes, and this takes much more time. It is possible that this extra time will cause them an accident that they could have avoided if they could have felt where the sound was coming from.

This problem also concerns bilaterally deaf people

A problem that concerns many people :

  • Every year, about 60,000 people in the United States acquire single-sided deafness.

  • Approximately 1 out of every 1,000 children is born with Unilateral hearing loss (UHL), and nearly 3% of school-age children have UHL.

  • 1,2 billon people with disabling hearing loss in the world

  • Only 17% of them resort to using a hearing aid

July 17, 2020 at 5:32 AM
Created by lebel.juliette1
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There are various products that partially help people with hearing loss.

Bone conduction headphones :

These are earphones that do not use the features of the outer and middle ear. They transmit vibrations to the mastoid bone. These vibrations will be directly addressed to the inner ear which will perceive them as "normal" sound. However, people with a damaged inner ear will not be able to perceive this sound. Hearing people can also use these bone conduction headphones as normal headphones.

Ufirst Nuguna Neckband :

This is a headset for people with damaged inner ear and no other form of deafness. It is very bulky and very expensive.

July 17, 2020 at 5:34 AM
Created by lebel.juliette1
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July 17, 2020 at 5:36 AM
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July 17, 2020 at 5:37 AM
Created by lebel.juliette1
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Team 2:  Le Cat, the hearing compass

General Feedback --> What you liked ?

Need to work on time management. Also, it will great if they shorten the video to explain the problem. The video demo was a very nice example of problem, can it be shorter? Reference it in the talk more afterward.

Their areas of opportunities ?

Therapy and consumer product. It seems like a lot of existing technology can be used as a baseline, reducing the time to develop

Their strongest moment during the presentation?

The team is very clear about their objective. The confused sound heard by hearing-handicapped people at the beginning caught my interest immediately. The video/sound demonstration was nice

July 17, 2020 at 5:38 AM
Created by mehdi.dolleans86
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Team 2:  Le Cat, the hearing compass

Jury Feedback

  • Continue to work like that and don't hesitate to contact people
  • They said they are supported by CRI, no need of fund

Peers Feedback

  • It was cool, we understood - the pitch - well so nothing to say​
  • Be careful about the cost of the product. Keep going ! 
  • Go ahead
  • Let's go
  • Really good presentation, very clear ! 

July 17, 2020 at 5:41 AM
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We wanted to build a device that was accessible to everyone (hard of hearing and hearing people) to fight the stigma of disability. However, we gradually moved away from our original project : to create a device to help people with hearing loss to feel their sound environment.

We therefore decided to focus our project on our initial idea. If our project succeeds, we will think about integrating earphones into it, which will make the device usable by everyone.

July 17, 2020 at 6:37 AM
Created by lebel.juliette1
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Little by little, we became familiar with Arduino.

This week, we created a circuit that, when the drilled sound exceeded a certain defined power level, turned on a light. If we replace the light by a vibrator motor preceded by a driver, we will have created a first version of our device.

Now we want to succeed in making our device autonomous and adapting to the environment.
If the surrounding noise is low or if the surrounding noise is high, the arduino should be able to feel it and make the person feel only the useful vibrations. 

July 17, 2020 at 6:49 AM
Created by lebel.juliette1
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In 1757, Doctor Claude-Nicolas LE CAT invented the very first hearing aid, the acoustic horn. He imagined a cone made of polished metal covered with very fine leather. This first prosthesis makes it possible to amplify hearing by approximately 15dB. Very important invention, which will undergo only very few modifications and will still be used in 1925.

July 20, 2020 at 11:09 AM
Created by lebel.juliette1
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20/07/2020

Today, we have designed the very first version of our device.

Our prototype consists of a microphone : if the perceived sounds are higher than a certain power, then the Arduino (a mini computer) activates a vibrating motor. 

Now that we have managed to do this, tomorrow we hope to be able to link several microphones and vibrator motors!

July 20, 2020 at 11:36 AM
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July 23, 2020 at 5:00 AM
Created by mehdi.dolleans86
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This week we created an online survey.

The purpose of this questionnaire is to determine more precisely the needs that our product could answer.

If you want to take a look at it, here's the link :

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSe0TiYhm8JlADsf1yzeCFk-gYm8WXdzEhmI1pST2Z5vEdkrVA/viewform

July 24, 2020 at 4:40 AM
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22//07/2020 - 23/07/2020

During these two days, we made prototype three.

We managed to link two microphones, two amplifiers and two vibrator motors. The microphones were also connected to a manual potentiometer.

This way, depending on the different sound thresholds, people can adjust the device themselves so that they only perceive sounds higher than the existing background noise.

 

July 24, 2020 at 5:40 AM
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Le Cat

General Feedback:

  • What type of accidents?
  • What are the consequences?
  • Be clear about how making the person aware of their surroundings will reduce the number of accidents.
  • In your competitive analysis - list the products that come closest
  • Great that you include what you need from your jury
  • Also great that you brought a prototype

July 24, 2020 at 5:59 AM
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2 vibrating motors + 2 microphones = Prototype 2

21/07/2020

- Today we managed to create a prototype with two microphones and two engines that work! This is the first victory. 


PS: In the afternoon, we also tried to connect six microphones and six motors. The connections are good but we have to revise our code to make it work.

July 24, 2020 at 6:02 AM
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22/07/2020 - 23/07/2020

During these two days, we made prototype three.

We managed to link two microphones, two amplifiers and two vibrator motors. The microphones were also connected to a manual potentiometer.

So, depending on the sound volume, the person will be able to adjust the device to hear only sounds higher than the ambient sound volume of his or her environment.

July 24, 2020 at 6:07 AM
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July 28, 2020 at 4:45 PM
Created by mehdi.dolleans86
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Le Cat team
By hearing the voices of our stakeholders (mainly our end-users), we aim to :

  • Know if there is a real need for our product.
  • To verify the data, we gathered looking at different surveys about accidents in hearing-impaired communities.
  • Identify the needs and preferences (design, functionalities) of our end-users.


Survey: https://bit.ly/30Pwu5x

July 28, 2020 at 4:46 PM
Created by mehdi.dolleans86
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26/07

July 28, 2020 at 5:01 PM
Created by mehdi.dolleans86
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WEEK 4

We've started to develop prototype 4.

It will be a smaller and more powerful version of the third prototype (two microphones/amplifiers and two vibrating motors) since we have changed the board that we use (Arduino Leonardo -> Adafruit Feather M0 Express).

 

The microphones will also be tinier and more efficient than the one we previously used.

 

However, we'll try to implement a numeric potentiometer on this one. In that way, the microphone threshold will be adjusted on its own.

July 28, 2020 at 5:27 PM
Created by mehdi.dolleans86
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July 28, 2020 at 5:38 PM
Created by mehdi.dolleans86
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July 28, 2020 at 5:40 PM
Created by mehdi.dolleans86
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