September 6, 2016
Greyson Watkins, a deaf fifth-year computer security major was home alone with his young daughter when she fell down the stairs and began crying, but he wasn’t able to hear her. Greyson had problems like this all of the time such as not hearing the doorbell ring, the dryer beep, or even overcooking his food because he couldn't hear when the oven alarm went off. He quickly realized that he wanted to help deaf and hard of hearing individuals like himself to prevent these types of situations. To help solve some of these problems, HZ Innovations was formed around a new product idea called Wavio, that was developed by Greyson and his team. Wavio is a tool that can detect and capture sounds around deaf and hard of hearing individuals, and alert them based on their customized preferences that are pre-programmed into the device. These important sounds have been recorded and memorized to alert the customer through a Wi-Fi system on every day devices such as a smartphone, laptop or tablet.
When Wavio was just a simple concept, HZ Innovations decided to utilize the resources offered by RIT to further develop their product idea into a successful business venture. The team consists of Greyson Watkins a fifth-year computer security major, Chrystal Schlenker a fourth-year interpreting and business student in the School of Individualized Study, Nicholas Lamb a fifth-year electrical engineering student, and Zach Baltzer a fourth-year microelectronic engineering student. The team had access to mentors and coaches and also participated in entrepreneurship classes, business competitions, and even events and programs held by the RIT’s Albert J. Simone Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. They also received help from The Construct, which is a makerspace on campus that is open to all students to further create prototype solutions to the problems they are trying to solve.
With the help, expertise and advice from the Simone Center at RIT, along with the hard work and dedication of this team, these students are now co-founders of HZ Innovations. We are excited to see this startup grow into a successful company. HZ Innovations, along with four other RIT teams, also just recently were nominated as finalists for the 2016 Digital Rochester GREAT Awards. The winners will be announced at the Awards in a couple of weeks on September 22.
Stay tuned for next week's Innovation Spotlight Story on Thermapparel and AWARE.
For more information on the Digital Rochester GREAT Awards please visit their website: http://digitalrochester.com/2016-great-awards/.
To view the full article on HZ Innovations in the RIT University Magazine visit their website: https://www.rit.edu/showcase/index.php?id=337.