Windsor entrepreneur hopes app can make a difference for people who are deaf, hard of hearing | CBC News

App launched in 2022, already has 13,000 users

Windsor entrepreneur Saamer Mansoor hopes the transcription app he’s created can break barriers for people who are deaf or hard of hearing.

The 31-year-old was recently accepted to showcase his app, BeAware Deaf Assistant, at the Consumers Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas earlier this month — a show that brings together the latest technological breakthroughs and innovators.

The app’s main purpose is to provide a real-time transcription of what is being so that a person who is hard of hearing or deaf can read the screen and know what is being said aloud. This feature can be used without internet and transcribes multiple languages.

There’s also a setting that allows the app to pick up on loud sounds in a person’s environment and alert them by flashing their phone’s light to signal that there is a loud noise.

Both of these uses are free for people to use.

“People who are unemployed because of disability have disabilities that we can enable, if you provide a solution, you can essentially bring them into the workforce,” he said.

“It has been a really gratifying journey.”

Mansoor, who was born in Saudi Arabia, went to university in the U.S. and moved to Windsor four years ago. He had been working in app development and in 2021, he and a few friends brainstormed the idea. The following year the app launched.

“A lot of us had either family that is deaf and hard of hearing, we had friends who are in the Deaf community, we had taken sign language classes before, and so we had a lot of friends who were close to the community and that really helped us do our research essentially,” said Mansoor.

In the last year, Mansoor has also added a conference captioning app, through which he charges institutions or businesses to use the service for lectures or large events.

This allows people in the audience who are hard of hearing to scan a QR code and get a transcription of what is being said, right to their phone.

Most recently, he says Michigan State University used his app for a graduation ceremony.

He says this feature of his app is what makes it different from other transcription services.

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