Berkshire Student Takes Top Prize at National Invention Convention
Posted 05/27/2016 08:00AM

Berkshire student Eli Mathieu '19 recently earned top honors for his invention Listen4Mean app that detects the sound of smoke and carbon monoxide alarms and alerts the hearing impaired. 

Mathieu took home first place in the 9-12th grade division at the the National Invention Convention & Entrepreneurship Expo (NICEE) held May 19-21 in Alexandria, Virginia.

"I feel that my technology can vastly improve the ability for the hearing impaired to communicate," Mathieu said.

"Current solutions for hearing impaired individuals to learn how to lip read, as well as translating spoken words is limited and flawed at best. I believe that my solution can create more opportunities for the hard of hearing than ever before," he added.

In April, Mathieu was invited as a speaker to the Connecticut Invention Convention, an event he's been attending since the third grade. Dubbed a “Next step Inventor, spoke in front of more than 1,200 students, parents and industry sponsors.

The 15-year-old from Colchester (Conn.) began creating Listen4Me as a seventh grader at Talcott Mountain Academy.

Listen4Me responds by making an emergency call without user input, according to its creator, whose inventions have been largely inspired by a childhood friend who has a hearing disability. As a third grader, Mathieu created iHear, a technology that limits the peak volume of headphones to reduce damage from loud music.

Mathieu's future plans include developing a hardware device to assist with lip-reading that would enable a hearing impaired user to have a conversation without the need for a sign language translator. 

In addition to earning Mathieu the top prize among high school students, Listen4Me also received a Global Change Award for Accessibility, an award sponsored by Microsoft "that recognizes inventors who stand to make major change in the world with their inventions."

Listen4Me is currently available on the Google Play Store. For more information, visit listen4me.com.