Home automation for the hearing impaired

In the UK it is estimated that there are over 9m people who are deaf or hard of hearing. Deaf people are aware of their surroundings and adapt to a deaf world, As a Deaf person you rely on your eyes and other senses, you can rely on people's reactions, for example, if a fire alarm is going off, a deaf person can see what's going on and follow the crowd to safety. However, what happens when they are alone, at home or at work. The fire or smoke alarm sounds and they don’t hear it. What then?

Sonicco have developed a new home automation product to alert the deaf and hard of hearing when sounds are heard.

Sonicco is a manufacturer of fire and security products for commercial and residential buildings. Established in 2014 by Wesley Kent, Sonicco is a young, dynamic company with some of the brightest designers in the UK. Sonicos first product is called Shuttle, a wire free intelligent door wedge.

Shuttle holds open fire doors and allows them to close automatically when the fire alarm sounds. Shuttle uses advanced listening technology to learn the fire alarm. The technology is know as SonicEar. The technology allows products to react when they hear a certain sound.

The Shuttle has been a big success in commercial properties all over the UK, allowing fire doors to be held open legally and safely. Sonicco were approached by a company who asked if they could make a listening device for the deaf.

Wesley Kent, MD says ‘’When we looked at the market for deaf products, we spent time learning about the deaf community. Many Deaf people don’t view their Deafness as a disability, it’s simply viewed as a natural part of a cultural experience that they share with family and  friends. We were surprised to see so many badly designed products for the deaf and hard of hearing. Making a product to assist the deaf  was an obvious progression for our SonicEar technology, We wanted to develop a stylist high tech product that offers a deaf person all the gadgets in one as well as a life saving product’’

Sonicco made Orb. Orb is a revolutionary Deaf Home Automation product for the home and work space. 

How does Orb work?

Orb is a hub which is situated in any room in the house or at work. Orb has advanced listening technology which can learn up to 3 different sounds. For example, users programme Orb to learn different sounds such as a smoke detector, carbon monoxide alarm and or heat detector. When Orb picks up the sound, it sends a dedicated radio signal to connected devices. In addition to the listening technology Orb is also connected to a doorbell. When the doorbell rings the user is alerted through their wristband.

Connected devices include:

  • Wearable wristband with led indication (flashes for different sounds)
  • Wirefree vibrating pillow pad (used for sleeping)
  • Flashing wall light
  • Doorbell

Features include:

  • 800m radio range to connected devices
  • Listens and learns voice, intermittent and continuous alarms
  • Long battery life
  • Wireless charging for wristband
  • Plug in with Battery backup
  • USB for phone charging
  • Alarm clock

Wesley goes on to say ‘’The idea is that you wear the wristband in the day and use the pillow Pad at night. Other connected devices include the doorbell and flashing light. You will be able to have the Orb at home and in your workspace. The wristband will work with any other Orb. We  are currently in talks with hotel chains, schools, public buildings, supermarkets and other retailers to widen the network for the product and deaf community , allowing deaf people the freedom to live and move around without the worry of being alone, and not reacting to a fire or security alarms.

Get in touch with Sonicco to learn more about the Orb. www.sonicco.com


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