A young inventor from Oxford was presented with an award in Austria for his idea to help people with hearing loss to see things they can’t hear.
Rye St Anthony School pupil Jacob Levy was selected as one of two winners of the global Ideas for Ears competition in December and presented with his award during a ceremony in Innsbruck last week.
The competition was organised by technology business MED-EL to encourage youngsters between six and 11 years old to dream up new and imaginative ways of helping people with hearing loss.
Jacob came up with the idea for ‘hearing glasses’ that would translate sounds into written words for the wearer to read in front of their eyes.
Conversations would be translated into written text and scroll across the bottom of the lens, or sounds such as a barking dog would pop up as an image in the corner of the frame.
Jacob came up with the genius idea after watching a programme where glasses could connect to a phone via Bluetooth to play sounds.
The Year 5 pupil said: “Going on the winners trip to MED-EL headquarters in Austria was an awesome experience.
“It was really interesting to visit the factory and see the engineers working in a clean room where they keep the work area sterile and replace all the air every minute to stop contaminants entering the hearing implants they are making.
“I loved meeting the MED-EL inventors who have changed the lives of many thousands of people with hearing loss.
“It was also amazing to see the mountains and play the fun games at the AudioVersum Museum of Sound in Innsbruck.”
Jacob made the trip to Europe with his dad and also met Geoffrey Bell, the chief technical officer at MED-EL and inventor of the Vibrant Soundbridge middle ear implant.
The device allows people with hearing loss who can’t wear hearing aids to convert signals into mechanical vibrations in the inner ear, which the brain perceives as sounds.