The student team of Hz Innovations is confident that they have developed a product that deaf and hard-of-hearing homeowners can’t possibly live without. A working prototype of their Wavio wireless sound recognition system will be on display and in action at Imagine RIT: Innovation and Creativity Festival, May 7.
Wavio contains sound-capturing units that are connected to a home Wi-Fi system. When a doorbell rings, smoke alarm chimes, water faucet drips or dog barks, for example, the unit notifies the homeowner via smartphone, smart watch, tablet or laptop, and identifies the sound. According to developers, virtually any sound deemed important to the homeowner can be recorded and “memorized” by the system during installation.
At the booth, visitors will participate in live demonstrations and be able to offer feedback on the Wavio device. The team is also interested in collecting testimonials from deaf and hard-of-hearing students and homeowners to find out how Wavio could impact their lives.
The team—Greyson Watkins, Chrystal Schlenker, Zach Baltzer and Nicholas Lamb—have won or placed in several local and regional business competitions over the past year and recently secured a contract to produce 1,000 units. In fact, with product manufacturing a key component to success, the co-founders are anxious to grow their team and are encouraging students to drop off résumés at their Imagine RIT booth in the Student Alumni Union.
“We’re certainly looking for deaf people and engineers to join our team,” said Lamb, a fifth-year electrical engineering student from Waterloo, N.Y. “And we’re also looking for people who are anxious to learn more about becoming part of a unique start-up business.”
Added Baltzer, a fourth-year microelectronic engineering student from Hilton, N.Y., “It’s amazing that a little more than a year ago we were looking for a cool project to focus on. Now we’re co-founders of a company.”