I could only make out about half of what he was saying. Up until then my hearing aids had done a fine job. I was able to hear the previous speakers in the lecture hall with little or no problem. But now I was frustrated.
Fortunately I had a solution in my pocket. An app called Ava. I fired it up on my iPhone and the speaker’s words began scrolling across the screen. It’s kind of like live captioning.
Very cool and very useful.
Ava debuted in November 2016, the creation of founders Thibault Duchemin, Pieter Doevendans and Skinner Cheng.
It’s not perfect, and it doesn’t get every word right every time. In my experience it’s about 96 or 97 percent accurate if you’re speaking one on one with someone in a quiet room. That tails off if you are in noisier environments. No surprise there.
That’s why Ava is also designed connect a group of people around a dinner table, for example, as long as each of them has the app on their phones.
One issue confronting the developers, according to Pieter Doevendans, is that many potential users are older folks who are not always tech savvy.
“Our ultimate goal is to make it easy and smooth to use”, he says, “As simple as just pulling your phone out of your pocket to provide a convenient 24/7 experience.”
Also in the future, they are looking at developing AR capabilities. One day you may be able to put on a pair of special glasses that puts the captions right before your eyes.
But make no mistake, Ava is well worth getting right now.
You can download either IOS or Android versions right here on their download page.