Daniil Frants, 16, created with two of his peers the "Live-Time Closed Captioning System," a contraption that goes over a person's head and enables people with hearing disabilities to see closed-captioning of conversations happening in real-time.
Daniil described the product as "an auto-head display, sort of like Google Glass."
"The microphone picks up speech, and the micro-computer converts it into a phonetic form, [using] voice recognition to display the text to the screen," Daniil explained.
Daniil, who attends the Dwight School on the Upper West Side, was one of 10 New Yorkers under the age of 20 to be named a "young innovator to watch" this spring by the city's Economic Development Corporation and an organization that puts on CE Week, a consumer electronics event meant to show the city's commitment to local tech sector growth.
The honor was bestowed on students who are high achievers developing products in science, technology, engineering, arts and math, known as STEAM in the education world.
Daniil said he came up with the idea for his product about a year or year and a half ago, and created it with two other Dwight students.
"A lot of people were wondering if Google Glass could be used for something like this," Daniil explained. And it turned out that Google Glass wasn’t really optimal for this, so I decided to make an alternative system which was dedicated to this function."
Daniil said he'd "done a lot of stuff with technology before," but taught himself a lot of the necessary coding as he went along.
Daniil's invention, and those of the other winners, were chosen for their creativity, civic mindedness, ability to be scaled up for mass production, and ease for users. The teen said he plans to launch an Indiegogo campaign in the coming weeks to raise money "to bring in a few more people to take care of the details" and to finance production.
"No one on my team is really a specialist in this area," he explained. "So we want to bring in someone to do the fine-tuning," cut down on interference, and make the headset more ergonomic.
Daniil said he hopes to go to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology when he graduates high school.