N. Aurora man helps deaf community with new app
North Aurora resident Lloyd Roin can hear what you say but the rest of his family cannot. His parents and siblings are deaf, but he isn't. Their disability has led him to make inroads working with the deaf and hearing-impaired community, including with the International Center on Deafness and the Arts. But his major initiative so far has been the startup he founded with other partners and investors called E-View Connections in Des Plaines. The company has launched its first smartphone app for the deaf and hearing-impaired and has had more than 1,200 downloads to date.
"I saw that the technology could easily fit in with the deaf and hard of hearing community," Roin said.
Besides his mother, Judy Roin of Wheeling, and his sisters, he owes a lot of his inspiration to his father, Dennis Roin, who passed away in 2006, Roin said.
Dennis had earned a bachelor's degree in architectural engineering from Bradley University in Champaign, which was unusual at the time because he was deaf and support programs were uncommon at mainstream universities, Roin said.
His father's career was in architectural engineering. Dennis also resold surplus military Teletype machines to supplement the family income. Over the years, this interest expanded into early home computers and, later, texting. He was captivated by how technology could help him communicate more effectively and offered him more independence. He never engineered new technology, but he was an early adapter and always sought how to use available technology to improve communication avenues for the deaf community, Roin said.
The inspiration, in may ways, led to the new app called Engage by E-View.
E-View Connections holds patents for Engage related to its digital content distribution system for delivering location-specific content to an ad hoc group of mobile subscribers. It's patent-pending in Canada, the United Kingdom, and Europe, and the company has applied for additional U.S. patents.
The app is available for iPhone, Android and Blackberry platforms, he said.
The key element on the patent and the app is that it provides location-specific content based on the GPS coordinates of the subscribing member. In this way, the text messaging can be tailored to the specific needs of those individuals, especially when an Emergency Alert is issued for something like a Gulf Coast hurricane or a Chicago-area blizzard. No one outside of the affected area will receive that alert. The news and event content also is being tailored to be location specific, allowing for communication about events and activities that are important to the people receiving the messages and allowing others to receive something tailored to their location, he said.
Roin likes to refer to the individuals, who download the Engage app, as members rather than subscribers because E-View relies on those members to share news and activities that they think other members would appreciate or want to know about.
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