The National Science Foundation, an independent federal agency created in 1950, is conducting a National Hearable Challenge. The objective of the Challenge, which was announced in mid-May, is to find solutions that enhance or augment speech recognition in noisy environments. Participants have until June 26 to submit an algorithm that enhances or improves a recorded audio file containing spoken conversation recorded in a noisy restaurant. (The recorded audio file resides on the National Science Foundation website and is available to registered contest participants.) The first place winner, along with a 2nd, 3rd and 4th place finisher will be announced this September.
According to the NASEM Committee on Accessible and Affordable Hearing Health Care for Adults, 30 million Americans over the age of 12 have hearing loss. Thus, a primary goal of the National Hearable Challenge is to crowdsource solutions, such as algorithms or other methods that improve hearing in noisy settings.
The total prize pool is made up of $146,000 in cash prizes with the first place winner receiving $80,000 and the opportunity to present a poster about the winning solutions at Ubicomp 2017 in Maui, Hawaii.