Dhruv Jain named Google Scholar to design accessible technologies for deaf and hard of hearing people

Jain is working to design next-generation accessible technologies to give DHH people better awareness of their surroundings.
Prof. Dhruv Jain

People who are deaf and hard of hearing (DHH) have trouble understanding sounds, impacting their access to safety-critical signals, ability to perform daily tasks, and general awareness of their surroundings.

A new project by Dhruv Jain, assistant professor of CSE, aims to bridge these gaps for people who are DHH. The work, called “Sound Awareness Systems to Support People Who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing,” is supported by the Google Research Scholar Program to evaluate and design better sound awareness technologies that work in a variety of settings.

This project will expand on Jain’s past work, which explored the most helpful ways to integrate cues into the lives of DHH people through both surveys and trials of new designs. His results revealed a number of needs that were going unmet by existing technology, such as better customization options, privacy, and user interface preferences. Now, he says, he will focus on incorporating these insights in a study of how best to integrate assistive technology into the everyday lives of DHH users.

“Our work can help build the next-generation of sound awareness technologies,” says Jain, “including future iterations of real-time sound recognition.”

The three phases of his study will examine: how DHH people make use of existing technologies in all the different settings they frequent, as well as what impacts or alters their usage; how existing technologies affect DHH people and their understanding of their surroundings; and what concerns new technologies introduce for DHH users, especially social and privacy concerns.