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H2020

3D Tune-In Report Summary

Project ID: 644051
Funded under: H2020-EU.2.1.1.4.

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - 3D Tune-In (3D-games for TUNing and lEarnINg about hearing aids)

Reporting period: 2015-05-01 to 2016-04-30

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

Hearing loss is an inevitable part of the ageing process from around 25-30 years old. As the average age of Europe’s population is increasing, with expectations by 2050 of two fifths being over 50 years old, demand for assistive hearing devices also is expected to grow. Hearing Aid (HA) technology has dramatically advanced in the last 25 years, since the commercialization of the first digital hearing aid. Nevertheless, this technological advancement is not always accessible or accessed by the hearing impaired population. The majority of individuals with hearing aids use the device as if it was a standard analogue hearing aid, i.e. only for its amplification and equalisation features, and new algorithms are under-used or not exploited to their full potential. Hearing impairment in older adults can lead to frustration, low esteem, withdrawal and social inclusion. Further to these, in children, hearing loss affects speech and language development that impacts on academic achievement and future vocational choices.

Traditional gaming technologies have been successfully employed in non-leisure scenarios for learning and skill acquisition, empowerment and social inclusion. The challenge of 3D-Tune-In is to facilitate the successful exploitation of existing, overlooked or neglected functionalities of hearing devices to optimise their potential thus greatly improving people’s quality of life, and their interactions with other people and their surrounding environment.

Bringing together the relevant stakeholders from traditional gaming industries (SMEs - Reactify, Vianet, XTeam, Nerlaska), academic institutes (Imperial College London, De Montfort University, the University of Nottingham, the University of Malaga); a large European hearing aid manufacturer (GN Hearing); and hearing communities (through Associations - Extra Care, Hearing Link, Action Deafness, Accesibilidad y Personas Sordas and Ente Nazionale Sordi), 3D-Tune-In will create a Toolkit and five different games - tailored to different target audiences and focusing on different situations - that will help end-users in optimising the usage of their hearing device. In doing so, 3D-Tune-In envisages to impact the lives of those suffering from hearing impairment - countering social exclusion and increasing life quality - while simultaneously increasing awareness about hearing loss among the general public. The project is expected to last 36 months, concluding May 2018.

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

During the first twelve months, the 3D Tune-In project has progressed according to plan. All deliverables have been submitted on time and all milestones have been completed in accordance with 3DTI’s Description of Action (DoA).

After the kick-off meeting in May 2015, the activities of WP1 (stakeholder requirements, system concept and specifications) started immediately. Thanks to the partnered hearing associations, it has been possible to involve hearing-impaired individuals, hearing-aid users, audiologists and hearing-aid technicians in the participatory design stage. The outcomes of this process have allowed the 3DTI SME partners and GN Hearing to further develop their initial 3DTI application ideas and scenarios. The related output has been submitted as D1.1 (Requirements analysis and current and future scenarios of digital games for hearing). Subsequently, UMA, in close collaboration with ICL, led activities towards D1.2 (Specifications of the 3D Tune-In Toolkit), which included the in-depth requirements, specification and guidelines for the development of the 3D Tune-In Toolkit. Following this, WP2 (Technological development) is currently addressing the research and implementation of the 3DTI Toolkit, of which a first version is to be submitted by M15.

WP3, which started in M8, has so far contributed to the further refinement of the 3DTI applications scenarios and development plan. Activities within this WP are now progressing towards the development of the applications, in view of MS3.1 (First release prototypes of Apps 1-5), scheduled to be reached in M18.

WP4 started in M10, and is currently moving forward towards the development of the evaluation and validation protocol, the organisation of the evaluations of the first prototypes (MS4.1, due in M19).

WP5 (Communication and Dissemination), WP6 (Exploitation and business plan) and WP7 (Project management) all started in M1 and proceeded as planned.

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

From a technological standpoint, the aim of 3DTI is to produce three sets of items that represent an advancement beyond the state of the art, and will be exploited during and after the project:
1 - high-level code (3DTI toolkit, which will be released as open source);
2 - applications produced by the SMEs. Here, some of the companies are leaning towards freely distributing their application(s), while some other ones prefer selling their application(s);
3 - a wrapper (or more than one), which will be distributed for free but only for non-commercial uses. Third parties that will want to use the wrappers for commercial purposes will have to pay a fee. In the next months, we will investigate specific business models behind this.

So far 3DTI has delivered an initial alpha version of the 3DTI toolkit (M12), and has started the design and implementation of the 3DTI applications and wrappers.

In terms of socio-economic impact, 3DTI activities have mainly focussed on disseminating the general project description and aims, involving all stakeholders (e.g. academic, developer and end-user communities) in the participatory design (WP1) and early evaluation (WP4) stages. It is early to talk about socio-economic impact, and elements to evaluate the project success in terms of societal implications are not yet available. Nevertheless, the 3DTI consortium has been involved in several engagement and dissemination events, making sure that the relevant parties are informed and kept updated about the project activities.

Related information

Record Number: 190309 / Last updated on: 2016-11-14
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