Samsung España and Cheil Worldwide Spain have created an AI-powered app for people with autism that works with the brand’s earbuds to dampen the volume of fear-triggering sounds.
For people with autism, auditory sensitivity can lead to discomfort and anxiety in reaction to certain sounds like sirens or road works.
The app, Unfear, is an alternative to wearing noise-cancelling headphones, which can isolate the individual by muting external sounds altogether.
Endorsed by the Spanish Society of Psychiatry and Mental Health, Unfear works with Samsung Galaxy Buds to filter known trigger sounds, including sounds personalised to the user.
Its algorithm scans environmental noises against thousands of examples in its library to identify and dampen those cause stress, from barking dogs to crying children. Sounds can also be muted on audio from playback on the device paired to the earbuds.
Alejandro di Trolio, executive creative director at Cheil Worldwide Spain, said that the app works as a “sound airbag” to help prevent people with autism from experiencing anxiety and panic attacks.
The app can be voice-controlled, which allows users to select a “calm mode” in stressful moments.
In addition, Unfear has an SOS option where users can call their emergency contact to get help.
“The Unfear project is the result of synergies and commitment between all the actors involved,” Alfonso Fernandez Iglesias, chief marketing officer and e-commerce director at Samsung Electronic, said.
Unfear was created as part of Samsung’s “Technology with purpose” initiative.
Fernandez Iglesias added: “We want to raise awareness about autism, the daily challenges of those who live with [autism spectrum disorder] and, finally, a technological solution that can change their day-to-day life for the better.”
Unfear launched during World Autism Acceptance Week (27 March to 2 April) and is available in Spanish and English language.
It will be rolled out globally over the course of 2023.
Malcolm Poynton, global chief creative officer at Cheil Worldwide, said the app demonstrates Samsung’s belief in the “power of ‘Technology with purpose’” and Cheil’s “unique ability and DNA for creating meaningful, cutting-edge digital, gaming and mobile innovation”.
Poynton added: “This stuff matters and I couldn’t be more proud of the support Unfear offers for 70 million people with ASD globally.”
Research and testing for the app was conducted in partnership with ten Spanish autism organisations and more than 100 people with autism.
This article originally appeared on Campaign US.