Seeing Sound Project - creativity that helps people

Seeing Sound Project - creativity that helps people

Creativity is always good for self-improvement and it's even better when it helps people in need.

Triplets  Thanadee (Tan), Theerut (Tee), Thachathum (Touch)  Amornkasemwong, age 17, studying at International School Bangkok (ISB) in Grade 12,  found that their hobbies could benefit people in need, so they initiated the ‘Seeing Sound' project that provides an electronic gadget one of the brothers invented and the brothers developed together to help blind people perform daily activities with more ease.

Here's how the story goes...

Everything started when the three siblings visited a blind school in Bangkok in preparation for padding the poles that mark the school's soccer field. The project was funded by Soccer for the Blind, an ISB club. The idea was to make ensure that every corner of the pitch was safe for the blind soccer players.

Realising the difficulties the blind have to face, the brothers were wondering how they could help them. But they only had a vague idea what to do, until one day they worked out that the best way to figure out a solution was to talk to blind people and ask them what they really need.

So they visited the Centre of Occupational Promotion for the Blind in Nonthaburi to ask them how they could help. They spent an entire day interviewing blind people about the problems they faced in their daily lives and observing their daily routines. They learned how the blind had to use their hands to follow the walls along the hallways to find their dormitories and how they often bumped into each other and got lost.

Following the brothers' observations and interview responses, Tee, a robotics enthusiast, came up with an idea to turn a simple electronic circuit into an innovative device.

But nothing went smoothly at first.

"I had to learn how to solder from YouTube. It took me several hours to finish one piece. And it still didn't work. So I had to keep trying again and again," Tee recalled.

After several experiments failed, Tee stumbled on the idea of using a passive infrared (PIR) motion sensor that emits electrical signals when there is a change in the amount of detected infrared radiation. As the human body emits infrared radiation, an PIR sensor can be used to detect human motion. When the sensor detects motion, a buzzer sounds at a pre-set frequency. Different sound frequencies indicate different locations that the blind pass. An on-off switch was added to save electricity when not in use.
While Tee was devoting himself to his invention, his two brothers, Tan and Touch, took on the roles of fund-raisers, using their knowledge of business and economics to design and sell T-shirts to raise funds for the project.

"To implement Tee's invention, we needed money, so we decided to establish a social media community and sell T-shirts. That's how we launched the Seeing Sound project on Facebook," Tan explained.

"We started with an initial fund from our parents. Then we sold T-shirts via social media and staged small exhibitions in shopping malls in Bangkok and Hua Hin."

Touch added: "Some people didn't believe we did this project ourselves and thought we were scamming. So we had to explain to them what we intended to do and show them what we'd done so far. Eventually, we raised 400,000 baht in three months."

After trials, the sensory devices received positive feedback from blind users.

Then some unexpected problems arose. However, working out a solution turned out to be a valuable experience.

"It was a good lesson for us to learn that if we want to do something, we have to try our best to make it happen," Tee said. "Ultimately we feel good that our endeavours have benefits for other people."

Since their initial success, the triplets have brought in to provide more sensory devices to use in restrooms at the Foundation. Once again, this spurred Tee to further studies into how to adapt the techniques to different applications.

Now the triplets are delighted to be able to offer the sensory devices to people who need them, especially the blind.

Seeing these youngsters turn their passion and creativity into something beneficial for others is an inspiration. They have proved that nothing is too hard to try. And, if they can make it, others can make it, too.  

Check out their creativity and support their good cause on their Facebook Fan Page: "Seeing Sound".

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