Dubai student creates pillow that helps alert hearing impaired people while they sleep

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US graduate JayShaud Potter, while pursuing his master’s degree in city science at the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) in Dubai, connected doorbells, smoke detectors and security systems to a SmartPillow.
Image Credit: Provided

Dubai: A hearing-impaired student, during his university studies in Dubai, developed a prototype smart pillow that can alert hard of hearing people to emergencies while they sleep.

US graduate JayShaud Potter, while pursuing his master’s degree in city science at the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) in Dubai, hooked up doorbells, smoke detectors, and security systems to a SmartPillow that can also alert a person of any emergency call on the smartphone while he or she is sleeping. The phone can be used to send signals to the pillow, such as signals related to emergency alarms or urgent phone calls from selected sources. Transmission between the pillow and the phone or between the pillow and other security systems or devices may use a standard radio frequency wireless protocol.

Potter, 24, had come to Dubai for his Masters and is now back in the United States to get his MBA at RIT in New York. Drawing on his own experience living with deafness, he used the Internet of Things (IoT) to link alarms to alternative sensory alerts, such as haptic feedback or lights, via SmartPillow.

“I spent a lot of time worrying”

Deaf from birth, Potter often struggled with everyday communication challenges. “When I was younger I had difficulty with simple things, like getting up in the morning, because I couldn’t hear an alarm like the rest of my family. Growing up, I spent a lot of time worrying about what might happen in an emergency such as a fire or the threat of an intruder, ”he said.

Why Dubai?

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Through the app, the pillow connects to a user’s phone or tablet to provide a wake-up prompt.
Image Credit: Provided

Potter added that he had always been passionate about technology and began to explore how it could help solve some of the challenges people face with hearing loss. “Dubai is renowned for its innovative approaches to smart technology and it seemed like the perfect place to pursue this ambition, and despite having to return home due to the pandemic, my study program and the town itself have been a huge inspiration to work towards my goal, ”he said.

Wake-up prompt

Speaking of his innovation, Potter said, “The technology is designed to improve the quality of life and promote independent living for people with hearing loss, and to address the challenges that I have faced and the concerns that I have felt. emergency situations. Through the app, the pillow connects to a user’s phone or tablet to provide a wake-up prompt. It can also connect to any smart home device, from car doorbells and alarms to smoke / carbon detectors and baby monitors, to provide non-audio alerts on unusual activities or emergency situations through alternative techniques such as lights and haptics.

“It could be a game changer”

Dr Sanjay Modak, Chairman of the Department of Graduate Programs and Research, RIT Dubai, said: “We know from WHO [World Health Organisation] statistics that there are over 300 million deaf people in the world and this concept could be a game-changer in their daily lives. JayShaud overcame many challenges throughout his studies and his hard work and dedication to the program made us very proud.

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JayShaud Potter is now driving innovation forward while pursuing his MBA at RIT in New York.
Image Credit: Provided

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The smart pillow can also connect to any smart home device, from car doorbells and alarms to smoke / carbon detectors and baby monitors.
Image Credit: Provided

Not a one-off project

Potter is now pushing innovation forward while embarking on his MBA at RIT in New York. He said, “I continue to test and refine the technology to see how we might tackle other challenges and bring more functionality to it. This was not just a one-off project for my degree – it is an initiative that I intend to pursue, develop further and hope to eventually integrate the deaf community at large.

However, he had to postpone his search for clients due to COVID-19. Meanwhile, Potter filed for a patent a few months ago. He now expects to receive more information from the Patent Office soon.


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