Project Title/Device Name: Sound Off
Group Members’ and Primary Roles:
Lauren Baff Researcher
Jessica Betancourt Researcher
Gabriella Cammarata Industrial and Visual Designer
Avika Narula Product Engineer, Client Contact
Camille Weins UX/UI Designer, Client Contact, Sound Engineer
Primary Population For Whom the Device is Being Developed:
Our toy will be used by children aged 0-5 who have recently undergone cochlear implantation surgery and are beginning to acquire auditory skills. Our toy will be used in the Strivright school space by both the students and the therapists during auditory rehabilitation to help the students learn how to localize sound.
Purpose of the Device: What is the purpose of the device? What are the goals? This section can also include information about the disability you are addressing, as well as some of the other devices that do similar things and what will differentiate your project.
Children with cochlear implantations do not automatically gain the ability to localize and identify sound. There must be audiology therapy in order for these children to work on these deficits. The goal of this toy is to make a simple, accessible, durable, and easy-to-store toy that utilizes the pairing of light and sound to help children with recent cochlear implants address deficits in sound localization. Light acts as an objective feedback mechanism which allows the child to understand that he or she has correctly located the sound. Our goal is to create a toy that will light up and sound off simultaneously. Once the child locates where the sound is coming from, he or she will see that the light is on and the localization was successful. “Whack-a-Mole” is a game on the market that utilizes this concept, however, it is not easily accessible to a school room with limited space and resources. To counteract this, we have created a toy whose pieces can be separated and placed in various parts of the room. Not only will this aid with the acquisition of sound localization skills, but also it will allow the therapist to use the toy in a variety of contexts.
Literature Review: Should include at least the following and may include additional sections depending on your project and findings.
- Include information about the primary population that influences your design.
- Cochlear implantation surgery
- Deficits and abilities after cochlear implant surgery
- Include information about other similar devices and what differentiates your project.
- Piano mat
- Currently, therapists are modifying existing toys because no toy does exactly what they need
- Include information about how your device will interact with others in the user’s environment.
- Developmental stages (once specific age is determined)
- Technology used
- Vital components of toy
Rahne, T., Plontke, S. Functional Result After Cochlear Implantation in Children and Adults with Single-Sided Deafness (2016). Otology & Neurology, p. e332-e340.
Sladen et. al. Early Outcomes After Cochlear Implantation for Adults and Children With Unilateral Hearing Loss (2016). Laryngoscope, p. 1-6.
Secondary Literature Review
Akeroyd, A.M. (2014). An overview of the major phenomena of the localization of sound sources by normal-hearing, hearing-impaired, and aided listeners. Sage Pub 18: 1-7
Grieco-Calub, T. M., & Litovsky, R. Y. (2010). Sound localization skills in children who use bilateral Cochlear Implants and in children with normal acoustic hearing. Ear and Hearing. doi:10.1097/aud.0b013e3181e50a1d
Zheng, Y., Godar, S. P., & Litovsky, R. Y. (2015). Development of sound localization strategies in children with bilateral Cochlear Implants. PLOS ONE, 10(8), e0135790. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0135790
Balan, O., Moldoveanu, A., Moldoveanu, F. (2015). The role of perceptual feedback training on sound localization accuracy in audio experiments. 502-510.
Journal: As you plan and think through the problem/solution you are addressing, document your work through this journal. You can do entries as you wish but please include descriptions/pictures/ideas/results of testing/etc. Include lots of details and pictures so that readers can follow your development process. Entries should be posted at least once weekly. You may have one or two point-people post your journal but it should represent the work of all of the members. Remember to date your entries.
November 1, 2016: Members of our team met with the Occupational Therapists at Strivright in the early afternoon. Several concepts were presented to the Strivright therapists for review and feedback. The therapists seemed very interested in the concepts presented to them, especially the concept of building a mat with several buttons in which each button made an individual sound. Our idea was that a child would localize the sound on the mat and press the button, the a different button would be activated and project a different sound for the child to localize. After discussing the children’s and therapist’s needs, we modified our idea in accordance with the therapist’s feedback. It was suggested that the buttons should be removable, at which point we decided to only build several buttons instead of a mat with buttons. By building buttons for our project, the therapist could place the buttons throughout the sensory gym for the children to localize. We further developed this concept by discussing design ideas with Scott. During the meeting with Scott we were able to narrow down the feasibility of how many buttons we could build for Strivright.
The second concept of primary interest was that of a standing board with several medium sized cards that would project thier own individual sound. When the child would localize the sound he or she could flip the card and see the picture of the object which that sound corresponded to (ie. sound of a car horn, child flips the card and sees a picture of a car). After discussing the feasibly of producing two prototypes with the given amount of time, our team decided to focus on building one button, but is aiming at building several buttons for Stivright to use. We have also considered building a small device in which the therapist can control the activation of each button, but this has yet to be determined due to time constraints.
Lastly, our meeting Strivright helped clarify that the device should be focused on sound localization in general. The device will not solely be used by children who have had recent cochlear implants, but for children who are receiving services to improve auditory processing.
November 8, 2016:
This week, we hoped to work out two aspects of our project that were still outstanding. The first was the wiring that will be used to link the sound and the light together on each button, and then link the buttons to each other. The second was to find a way to case the technology in a container attached to the button so that the children playing cannot access the important wiring.
After we presented our current prototypes to the class, we were able to get some really great feedback about what technology is out there to help simplify our wiring process. Based on this feedback, we have decided to try to use the Huzzah to link the buttons to one another. The Huzzah can also be used to wire the light and the sound to work together. The Huzzah will be connected to the button, which will act as a switch to trigger the button.
After the feedback session, Gabriella began working on a prototype container. The goal was to create a two-chamber container. One chamber will house the wiring we do not want to allow access to, and one chamber will house the power button and batteries, which Strivright will need access to. Below is a rough prototype:
In the upcoming weeks, we will continue prototyping the button. We will also continue to tweak the container. Lastly, we will be discussing details such as volume, ADSR, and how to make sure we do not interfere with any other wireless communication networks that may be in place at Strivright.
November 15, 2016
This past week we worked on the audio and design of our prototype. We tested the audio on our prototype and discussed the designs Gabriella’s drawings of what final products can look look for each button. During class, we confirmed that the wiring on the Arduino was set properly, but we could barely hear the sound being projected from the speaker. We concluded we needed amplifier for the sound to be projected louder. In light of this, we met with Scott and he provided us with a few ideas of the best ampliers to take a look at. He suggested a LM384, Adafruit Mono 2.5W Class D Audio Amplifier, or LM386 Audio Amplifier Module will help amplify sound. Camille and Avika planned on going to Tinkersphere after class to see if there is one available for purchase so we can keep working on the prototype as much as possible before we meet with Strivright this Thursday.
Gabriella made casing renders:
Update 11/16/16: Amp is working!
November 25, 2016
As of this past week, sound and light were working properly when tested independently. However, when the two separate devices were paired they did not function as we had anticipated. After discussions with Scott, we determined that the wireless board should be switched to enable the button to function as needed.
Additionally, after discussions with Claire we it was decided to use the 3D printer to start building the casing which will enclose the wires, speakers, batteries and switch. Multiple openings and parts of the design for the casing will vary so that Gabriella and our group can work around the external structure when inserting all the contents for the button.
December 2, 2016
The casing has been printed. We are working on alterations or adjustments that might need to be made to have a final version by this coming Sunday or Monday. We are going to use NeoPixels for the light instead. This will take less energy to power the light for the button.
December 4, 2016
User testing completed at Pierrepont Playground (see following user testing section for details).
User testing: Describe who you test with and what the results are. Suggestions include but are not limited to: what questions did you have going into the testing? What additional questions came out of the testing? What tests did you perform? Who did you test the project on? (Use the journal section to describe or identify how the results of user testing alter your designs). When you do user testing it is important to adjust your testing depending on the feedback you receive. Don’t be afraid to ask for clarification or more information. If you have photo clearance include photos but try not to include people’s’ faces. Include short video clips if it adds to your description.
- The setting selected for user testing was a playground so that the user’s environment would promote fun and play as would Strivright’s sensory gym (Pierrepont playground).
- The user was selected based upon age and presence of his caregiver
- The user was a 3 year old boy playing with his older brother at Pierrpont playground in the presence of his caregiver. He appeared active as he was running after his brother and later sitting next to his mother and talking with her.
- After receiving consent from his mother, I proceeded to place two small boxes with one cell phone in each to the left and right side of the child.
- He turned his back toward the boxes and I played the doorbell sound on one phone. He turned around and was asked to localize where the sound was coming from (which one of the two boxes). After he accurately identified which box the sound was projecting from, he proceeded to turn his back as I rearranged the location of the boxes and played the next sound (the sound of a siren). He again, correctly localized the sound.
- He looked curious, smiled and giggled throughout the game and stated what he was hearing as he localized the sound.
- When I asked “What do you think about playing a game like this?” he said “It was fun! I like it!”
- When describing a game similar to this (using the idea of the button currently being built) he said again that it would be fun. When asked about pressing a button that lit up after he localized the sound, he said he would like a light and that he would have fun “playing that game”.
- When showing him a picture of the button we are building and asking him if he would want to play with a button that “looked like it” he said he would and mentioned he liked the color of the button (blue).
- After the testing, his caregiver stated that anything with sound and light gets them “excited” at this age.
Final Design: Describe and show your design. Support your choices for designs and materials. Include pictures both in use and not in use. Include short video clips if it adds to your description.
Challenges: Describe the challenges in creating this project and how you overcame the obstacles. You can highlight information included in your ‘journal’.
One of our first challenges was working with a short timeframe to complete the project. Our group was able to meet up with Strivright later in the semester to determine which direction we should talk for prototyping and building our toy for them. Another challenge was getting the light and sound to work together on our device. They worked well independently, but when connected to work in unison they did not function as expected. Additionally, our initial speaker was changed for better sound quality as well as changes to the device to use less power for light.
Costs: Include your sources and costs for your materials. Include free materials with their sources.
Future Plans: What are the next steps? What suggestions do you have for other uses of the device and other features you would like to build in?
References: Use APA format. Please make sure to cite your sources within the body of the text.