A new audio recognition system in Japan that was initially developed for business record keeping is now assisting people with difficulty in hearing using generative AI.
Aisin Corporation, a manufacturer of automotive components under Toyota, developed the YYProbe mobile app during the pandemic as a speech-to-text tool for employees to keep business records.
When employees with hearing impairments later found it useful in their communication, the company expanded the technology and built the YYSystem, which is now being offered to the wider society, particularly people with hearing difficulties, the elderly, and foreigners, to help overcome barriers in communication.
Aisin worked with Microsoft to enhance the summarisation and translation feature of the tool, leveraging Microsoft OpenAI’s ChatGPT technology and Azure AI Translator.
The YYSystem is now being used on countertop screens at government departments and retail stores across Japan and is slated to be deployed at the 2025 Deaflympics in Tokyo. The free-to-download YYProbe app has now more than 10,000 active monthly users. It also has an enterprise version.
Using generative AI, Aisin plans to further enhance the audio recognition system to allow users to input and generate pictures, videos, and graphs to communicate.
THE LARGER TREND
Generative AI has seen expanded use cases in healthcare over the past few months. Healthcare providers have started adopting the technology mostly to assist clinicians in assessing patient history and records to make a diagnosis. Beyond raising clinical productivity, it is also being tested to complement aged care.
Now valued at $1 billion, the healthcare generative AI market is projected to grow to $22 billion by 2032.
ON THE RECORD
Hiromi Soeda, a user of the YYProbe app, is diagnosed with Auditory Processing Disorder (APD), which is a lesser-known listening difficulty where the brain cannot process the words that one is hearing.
She shared with Microsoft Asia an instance when she used the app to understand what doctors were telling her about her mother’s condition when she got hospitalised due to COVID-19. “It’s much better to read [the text] to follow and help my understanding. And if I’m listening and I misunderstand, I can go back and read it again,” she said.
Soeda, who now runs an online support group for parents dealing with APD and listening difficulties themselves or in their families, is using YYProbe for their seminars.