Google is starting to develop two new features for Android phones today, designed to help around 900 millions of people around the world who, according to the World Health Organization, will suffer from hearing loss until 2055. These features are actually two Android apps called Live Transcribe and Sound Amplifier.
Live Transcribe receives speech from the real world and converts it into subtitles in real time using the phone's microphone while Sound Amplifier filters, enhances and enhances sounds in the user's surroundings. It increases the volume of silent sounds (and as long as possible sounds are needed) and can also be adjusted with adjustments and switches used to reduce noise and minimize distractions in the environment.
The Sound Amplifier will be available at Play Store for Android users, while Google says Live Transcribe will be released in limited beta through the Play Store. Both applications will be pre-installed on Pixel 3 devices.
In a blog post Today, Google shows how applications can be used, showcasing the work of Dimitri Kanevsky, a company researcher who has worked on speech recognition and communication technology for 30 years. "Through his work, Dimitri - who was deaf from an early age - helped develop accessibility technologies. One of these is CART: A service where a translator actually attends a meeting to listen to and display subtitle dialogs on a computer screen. Dimitri's colleague Chet Gnegy saw the challenges Dimitri faced using CART: He always had to connect multiple devices, it was expensive and every meeting required a lot of preparation. This meant that Dimitri could only use the CART for formal business meetings or events, and not for everyday conversations. "
According to the post, this was what inspired Chet to work with the company's Accessibility team to create a tool that could alleviate Dimitri's difficulties in preparing for conversations. "We thought: What if we use cloud-based automatic speech recognition to display spoken words on a screen?" The prototype was built and Google officials participated to test it. The result is Live Transcribe, an application that receives speech from the real world and converts it into captions, in real time, using only the phone's microphone.
According to Google, the application gives people who are deaf or have some hearing problems greater independence in their daily interactions. Like Dimitri, who is now closer to his loved ones and able to easily communicate with his grandchildren without the help of family members.