Last week, Beit Micha acquired a solution created by High School students from Kalai High School in Givatayim (majoring in software engineering), designed specifically for treating children with hearing impairment. The product was developed during the course of the students and Beit Micha’s participation in the MAX program.
Surround is a software product for children with hearing impairment, exposing the child to the sounds in his natural environment by creating virtual spaces in the existing therapy rooms.
The speech therapists plan the therapy session in a designated application and are able to choose from different space environments with options to test the patients reaction to sounds from different directions in a neutral environment.
The Need and the Uniqueness
Beit Micha is an Israeli nonprofit organization treating about 700 children with hearing impairment every year (from 3 months to 7 years old).
As with other non-profit organizations treating children with hearing impairment around the world, the treatment for making sounds accessible for children in Beit Micha is limited these days and it is mainly based on toys, images and physical aids that are being used by the speech therapist in the therapy room with the child. The goal was to provide the technological abilities for the speech therapist to significantly improve the treating process for children, using advanced technologies.
The newly developed technology makes it possible to transform the existing therapy room into an innovative digital environment with a wide variety of possibilities for producing sounds, and “world environments” designed to expand and improve the existing therapy setting.
In addition, the developed technology is first of its kind, in that it allows treatment for children with “one-sided” hearing loss. This treatment was not made possible up until now.
These days there isn’t an appropriate treatment for children with hearing loss on one ear, and research shows that children with “one-sided” hearing loss have difficulties in a noisy environment, a difficulty that couldn’t be treated properly up until now. Now, with the developed solution, it is possible to specifically treat one-sided hearing loss.
The system allows planning, controlling and documenting all treatment settings in addition to the therapy options.
Different therapy environments are made available through the developed software, for example: Creating an environment of a busy street/road – the speech therapist schedules movement of cars from different directions using the software, and tests whether the child noticed the noise of different cars approaching.
“The software opens up the door to a new therapeutic era, it is priceless.” Tali Greenstein, speech therapist, Beit Micha.
Image: Therapy setting in the interface used by the speech therapist, (this is an example for an “animal environment” allowing control on the manner of inputting the sounds among other things. For instance “lion’s roar” which comes to the patient from the left side, as opposed to “horse’s gallop” which comes to the patient from the right side)
About the Specific Deal in the MAX Framework
Beit Micha purchased the entire project from the students, for the sake of continuing it and carrying it out with the patients treated in the organization. Beit Micha is also saving the solution as an option for future marketing of the solution to speech therapists around the world (the percentage of children in the world who are born with hearing impairment is at 0.5%).
The project was developed and purchased during the course of the MAX program, which allows, among other things, an arranged transaction of the student developments to the non-profit organizations in return for a small fee. On top of the arranged exchange of intellectual property, the purchase and implementation of the solution in Beit Micha is an acknowledgment of the developed solution’s qualities.
The current class of the MAX program (2019/2020) supports 40 social impact ventures (social-tech), of which about 13 solutions are implemented in the nonprofit and social organizations that are participating in the program this year, such as: ALUT, Make a Wish, The Israel Blind Center, JDRF Israel and Lasova Organization.
Every year the MAX program invites non-profit and social organizations to take part in the program and get assistance from high school students in building technological solutions for their special needs, in order to fulfill the social organizations goals in a good, effective and innovative way.