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West Michigan man creates new gaming device for deaf community

Posted at 8:55 PM, Oct 04, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-04 22:25:56-04

ZEELAND, Mich. — It’s an industry first for the gaming world.

An audio-radar experience that helps the deaf and hard of hearing gamers to hear movement using an LED display.

Its creator lives right here in west Michigan.

“I can turn to wherever that sound of it was that much faster. So, you're doubling your senses if you will,” said Tim Murphy, inventor and patent-holder of Audio Radar.

The Zeeland native built it in his gaming garage, working on the new technology for more than three years.

It visualizes 7.1 surround sound basically turning it into light. Tim calls it a big game changer for the deaf community.

“They can now see audio events within games like Call of Duty: Warzone and Fortnight these big titles to have these really sophisticated 7.1 surround physics if you will," Murphy said. "We're now visualizing those for gamers that don't hear them so now they're we're leveling the playing field.”

Six LED bars attach to your TV or monitor and so far have only tested it on popular shooting games.

“So, if you hear footsteps coming up behind you, the light bar in the lower right-hand corner of your your monitor or TV is going to start flashing to give you indications that ‘hey someone's right behind you take a look’. Or, if a tank’s coming up behind you, you have all your lights just blowing up on the bottom of your screen and you know, ‘hey I better turn around there's something happening," Murphy said.

It allows gamers to see what they can’t hear by plugging it into their X-Box, Playstation, or computer.

Anyone can use it but it’s revolutionary for those in the deaf community, like Dom Bearwood. We heard from him through an interpreter

“Extremely exciting,” Bearwood said. “I just, I can't even put words to it. I'm speechless at how exciting this is.”

Dom started gaming when he was little with Super Mario on Nintendo. He says he’s not super skilled but loves to play.

“Gaming is a big part of my life,” Bearwood said. “But it's really helped me to see different parts of the world as far as like different perspectives and things like that. It gets me out of my own, just my own life, but also takes me out of reality sometimes and lets me just relax and have fun.”

He too calls Audio Radar a game-changer for the deaf and hard of hearing community.

“I never realized that there were so many different sounds in the game like footsteps or shooting or background noises,” he said. “I just never knew that those were there. And then when I saw all these lights going up, I was like, really are the all of those sounds going on. Like even when somebody falls, when they die, there's a sound, and somebody walking behind you or I would die a lot because you know, I didn't know someone was behind me.”

Tim spent time as a radar technician in the Navy and always wanted to introduce radar into the gaming world.

After testing the concept on a focus group he knew it would be a success.

“There's definitely a big unmet need in the gaming community that we can fill with Audio Radar,” Murphy said. “There's no other device like this and we believe is just a simple yet sophisticated solution for that giant unmet need.”

Murphy legally could not tell us if he’s signed a deal yet with a major company.

Audio Radar will launch on October 15th on Indiegogo - a crowd-funding site to help entrepreneurs get their products to market.

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