As a student, Tatsuya Honda was just being nice when he helped a deaf man who had gotten lost at a festival at Future University Hakodate in Hokkaido in 2009.

But he never imagined that the encounter would grow into two things — a friendship and inspiration to develop a wearable sound sensor to help people with hearing disabilities.

As the two became friends, Honda got more interested in communicating with the hearing-impaired, prompting him to learn sign language and volunteer as a translator.