Mobile 3D Audio For The Visually Impaired

Last week, I woke to 10 twitter notifications

https://twitter.com/zersiax/status/602840893293522944 https://twitter.com/zersiax/status/602840893293522944

To give some context, I usually get about 2 twitter notifications a month, so for a young entrepreneur this was like Cyber Christmas. I was trying to figure out what lottery I won.

Florian wasn’t the only visually impaired individual to tweet at me that morning. Many other’s joined in, Justin Thornton (@drummer0608) and Rich Cavallaro (@richcav) among them.

Instead of paraphrasing what they said, I asked Justin and Rich for permission to share their reactions to discovering Hooke Audio verbatim.

From Rich:



90 percent of visually impaired and or blind people who use smartphones running IOS or android in todays world depend on them as a lifeline in order to be productive.

Hooke will set an audio standard in portable recording solutions. Because of your product, we as blind people are entering a new era of being able to capture audio.

I believe that promoting the Hooke Verse to a large community of visually impaired and or blind people would bring Hooke to a level of awesome never seen before.

Hooke not only is an accessible talking bluetooth headset, its a tool that everyone can use straight out of the box. When a blind person experiences binaural 3D audio they truly become a part of the story.

Sight no longer matters and is not needed to relive priceless memories or experience live stunning audio realism when recorded with Hooke.

[…]

To be able to personally record binaural 3d audio easily, comfortably and affordably is something that I can finally partake in just by wearing Hooke!

Thanks to the team at Hooke, we can experience audio as if we’re seeing things in our minds eye.

Thanks Anthony.

This nearly brought me to tears. I can’t begin to say how overjoyed it made me to hear these guys excited about Hooke. Thank you, Rich!

And it doesn’t stop there. See what Justin, a drummer and a musician, had to say:


When sighted people go on trips, they are able to travel with a Gopro or take pictures with their smart phone and relive those memories when ever they choose or get to spread those memories on social media networks such as Instagram.

Losing yourself in 3d audio recording for a blind person is ideal to relive their most enjoyed moments by using a product as Hooke that isn’t space or wire-intensive but still captures high quality binaural recording for instant gratification as if you were reliving said moments.

I hope to keep in touch.
“From One Ear To Another” 

-JT


I had hoped, in creating Hooke Audio, that all kinds of people from all kinds of places with all kinds of interests would start to demand better sound in their lives.

For the visually impaired and/or blind, this desire for better quality audio is obviously very real. It is an issue that profoundly effects the way they capture memories and live their lives. I am over the moon that Hooke is able to help them in this pursuit by bringing binaural 3D Audio Recording to their smartphones.

I’ve learned quite a bit from the visually impaired community since speaking with them.

1. Apple’s ScreenReader technology: 

https://www.apple.com/accessibility/ios/voiceover/ https://www.apple.com/accessibility/ios/voiceover/

The visually impaired rely heavily upon this technology to access their mobile devices. They were able to experience my videos, navigate our website, and communicate with me on social media all thanks to this incredible technology.

2. Our Hooke App Wasn’t Entirely Blind Friendly. 

Adjusting mic gain through visual faders is difficult for some one visually impaired to navigate. Adjusting mic gain through visual faders is difficult for some one visually impaired to navigate.

When recording a video, a user has the ability to adjust mic gain in loud environments by sliding the little “lollipop” device up to give the mics more “room to breathe.” Naturally, this would be difficult for a visually impaired person. Justin offered the idea of having the phone vibrate when clipping occurs. Brilliant! That should have been a feature all along. Now it will be. The next step is to find a way to adjust mic gain just using touch. My team and I are working on this, though we are open to suggestions. If you have any, feel free to leave them in the comments section below.

3. Too Many Products Come Short  With The Visually Impaired

I was surprised when Rich and Justin told me that most companies push them to the side. Instead of modifying their technology to be accessible, they just leave it as is, ignoring a massive community that could otherwise benefit from their innovation. I made Hooke for everyone. Not for a moment would I ignore a market simply because it was more work. I need all the support and accessibility I can get and am excited to implement these changes.

4. The Power Of Sound

“We live in a visually dominated world.” People are always saying this to me. Rich, Justin, and Florian can’t see the HD or the 3D video that consumes the everyday lives of sighted people, but after talking with them this week, you’d never know. There were times chatting with them online where I thought “I think you’ve seen more than I have in this life!” They’re excited about the future, like all of us. Most importantly, they understand the power of sound. For their community sound IS the standard.

I’ve always maintained that for every powerful image in our world, there is an equally powerful sound.

After my interactions with the blind community this week, that sentiment has only grown stronger. And fueled my quest for more.

From One Ear To Another,
Anthony Mattana
Hooke Founder

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