Kico – Hearing agency for hard-of-hearing people

Verbal communication between hard-of-hearing people and normal hearing people can be clunky. Even when normal hearing people are aware of the necessity to speak more clearly to hard-of-hearing people, they may start speaking less clearly as conversation goes along. And both parties could feel stress when something has to be repeated multiple times.

In addressing those situations with focus on sharing the burden of hard-of-hearing people, the concept has been developed through interviews and co-creation sessions with hard-of-hearing people and their family with use of various prototypes.

Kico is a system to create communal efforts by both hard-of-hearing people and normal hearing people to engage in understandable conversation, and is conceptualized to function as agency for hard-of-hearing people by artificial intelligence understanding each person’s hearing difficulty.

Normal-hearing people are reminded to speak at appropriate pitch, volume and speed through haptic feedback by the system, on behalf of hard-of-hearing people. They can also learn the proper way of speaking through watching visualization of volume, pitch and speed (character per second in transcribed text) of their voice in user interface.

With this machine, hard-of-hearing people will play a role in training the system. A function to record and play back recent conversation enables them not only to listen back by themselves to understand what was said, but also to mark the difficult sounds, by which the system figures out personalized parameters for threshold in triggering feedback.

For the detailed process, check