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Beautiful Irony: Nigerian Deaf Invents New Phone / Sound Technology

Featured Beautiful Irony: Nigerian Deaf Invents New Phone / Sound Technology Photo Credit:

Tuesday, March 5, 2024

Invention is a thing that often comes with much celebration and ovations as it always creates a new path of greatness for humanity. But when it comes from the rarest of places, it not proffers solutions to human problems, but also proves the richness of the human mind and its ability to create just about anything. This was the ironic case when a deaf Nigerian beat decades of research efforts to invent a sound separation technology.


When Bimpe Adelaja lost her hearing ability at age 7 to meningitis, her parents were devastated. Despite this tragedy, they never stopped believing in her ability to do just about anything, and imparted this belief into her through any communication means possible. After a year trying to fix the hearing problem, her parents decided to enroll her in a special school where she could get education through sign language.


Bimpe picked interest in Sciences since her primary school days. She later proceeded to Ladoke Akintola University of Technology where she studied Computer Engineering – with full scholarship, following her outstanding performances in WASSCE and JAMB.


Despite being deaf, she would often answer or make phone calls, and endeavour to pick some words from the “squeaky” sounds she sensed - the kind of sound that makes absolutely no sense to the hearing. She would call her friends and request that they speak on phone while also communicating same spoken words by text through Instant Messaging apps (on another phone).


With time, she would pick the spoken words before the text and the need for the text was occasionally disregarded in the course of discussions. One constraint she often faced was interference of background sounds. When this happens, she is not able to pick the words and ends up getting confused. So, she made up her mind to develop a technology that can filter the main voice on the phone from others, and also pick, separate and record background sounds.


Consequently, she ventured into sound engineering, with focus on sound separation-cum-programming. (She is a professional programmer.) Five years into this field, Bimpe discovered the innovation of sound separation scientists across the globe have been researching on for decades. She is practically blowing the world’s mind away.


She retains the patent of her discovery with her company, Esion (a reverse of “noise”), partnering with global giants as the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) of their sound separation chips.


Following her company’s $1.1 billion deal with Apple, the major feature that distinguishes the new iPhone 10c scheduled to be out in six month is the sound separation technology of the phone – the first 10 million units of which have already been pre-ordered.


She is scheduled to sign a $1.7 billion Dollars partnership agreement with Sony today at Ibadan where she operates from. To be in attendance are Nigeria’s Vice President, Minister for Labour and Productivity, and Secretary General of African Union.


The 29-year old is projected to top the list of richest Africans in 10 years, providing over 520,000 jobs  - just has the users of her renewable energy app moved from 250,000 to 78,000,000 a month after her sound separation innovation was made known to the world.


According to the Secretary General, AU, “We are really proud of Bimpe as Africans. She has challenged each and every one of us to be our best. If she could come up with this, then we have no excuse as Africans. We in the AU, than ever before, have been challenged to rise up to our responsibility of wealth creation in our continent, rather than always waiting for aids and grants from the West. We have got to rise up to this occasion. The world needs us, not for exploitation, but for survival; and we have got to live up to this expectation!”


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