October 18, 2017- In Seoul, KIA announced the winner for their 8th annual innovation festival: Symphony (also known as SYM:PONY,) a built-in car system tailored for deaf drivers.
Every year, engineers from South Korea’s KIA, Hyundai, and Genesis companies gather in Seoul to apply their talents and latest technologies towards improving KIA’s, Hyundai’s, and Genesis’ cars and KIA picks a winner and sponsors the project.
Symphony won for its accessible technology and everyday practicality for deaf drivers.
What does it do?
Symphony has a built-in dash screen next to the driver’s wheel and it functions as an alert and voicing system. It uses LED lights and connects to a smartwatch to alert the driver of oncoming sounds.
The alert system detects exterior alarms, honking, and sirens with flashing lights in different colors. Each type of sound has its own color, making it easy to recognize the sound’s source and react appropriately.
The goal is to make the streets safer for deaf drivers and decrease accidents involving emergency vehicles such as police cars, fire trucks and ambulances. If there is a siren approaching, a light will flash to alert the deaf driver of the nearby vehicle. If someone honks their horn at the driver, another color light will flash to alert the driver.
However, there is another feature:
Can I order at McDonald’s drive-thru with this car?
This is the other feature Symphony has included: sign-to-voice. The dash screen has a built-in camera so the people in the car can sign to the computer and the computer will voice what is being signed. This means ordering at the drive-thru would be possible.
The reverse applies; hearing people can speak to the screen and the program will show the text interpretation.
The technology would be useful for deaf drivers to communicate with police and deaf taxi drivers to communicate with hearing passengers for examples.
All in all, the team’s goal was simple: make life easier for deaf drivers.
cover image from theMemo.com