Bewarned App for Deaf and Hard of Hearing

– I’m Wade Wingler with the INDATA Project at Easterseals Crossroads in Indiana. For generations there’s been assistive technology to help people who are deaf or hard-of-hearing know when those audio cues happen in their environment. There’s also technology for amplification and all kinds of great stuff. Brian Norton our Director of assistive Technology is going to show you a new app for your smartphone called be Bewarned that sort of does a lot of those things together. Let’s go see what Brian has.

– My name is Brian Norton and I’m the Director of Assistive Technology here at Easterseals Crossroads. Super excited today to talk to you about an app called Bewarned, which is a platform app for folks who are deaf and hard-of-hearing. It does a variety of different things we’re used to have one app that did something and then another app that another thing. Well now they’ve combined it all into one app. A lot of different options and so let’s take a look at them. So the app is called Bewarned and so I’ll go ahead and open it up on my phone and there’s actually four different sections of it so of the app so it does four different things.

– The first one, the first screen that will come up is the sound monitor and what it does is it listens for what they refer to as dangerous sounds and so you can kind of set the sensitivity of the microphone on your phone by adjusting. It up or down and then your phone will just start to listen to your environment and if it ever hears something like a loud crash or bang maybe a baby crying it will alert you with a flashing alert. So I think it accesses your LED light and will start flashing that to let you know that there was a loud sound and to go back and try to figure out what that is. That’s the first area, sound monitor.

The next one is a way to connect with other folks. there’s a couple of different ways that it does this. The first is you can dialogue back and forth with folks so if I want to start a new dialog it allows me and another person that be able to communicate back and forth by the other person just allowing them to speak what they want to say, “hello how are you doing today?” and you’ll see that message pops up in the middle there and then I’m able to come down in here. And type my message back and I’ll type in I’m space okay space, and I’ll say return and send and so there then I’ve now communicated back, and forth and allows us to be able to carry on a communication in that regard. I’m going to go ahead and get back out of the keyboard and then I’m going to go back over here this start dialogue. It also comes with pre-programmed phrases in there so oftent imes somebody may come up to you and tap you on the shoulder and want to communicate with you not realizing that you may be Deaf or hard of hearing and so there are pre-programmed phrases in here. I’ll just go ahead and hit the microphone.

Computer voice: Hi can you please tell me where the nearest hospital is?

– So there’s different messages that you might want to be able to communicate with folks who aren’t able to know american sign language or know how to appropriately communicate with you and there’s a whole template of these messages back over here that you can kind of access. The third area of the screen is kinda a way, they named it dance, but it allows you to be able to put different sound tracks in there and then it will adjust the vibration in your phone and the LED flashing so that not only is it playing the music but you can actually feel the music a little bit too. Feel and see the music as well. In the fourth area over here is emergency call. So this is still in beta form, but can help place emergency phone calls for you safely so that right there is the Bewarned app and so super excited about it seems pretty interesting to me and we’re looking forward to seeing you take off.

– So there’s a great way to address a lot of those assistive technology needs for people who are Deaf or hard-of-hearing in a convenient and free way. That’s your tech tip for this week i’m Wade Wingler with the INDATA project at Easterseals Crossroads in Indiana.

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