Communication is a major challenge that the deaf face on a daily basis. It gets difficult for them to interact with others and also limits their use of certain products/gadgets like television, radio, etc. Ever-growing technology has proved beneficial for mankind and designers have come up with hi-tech products that vow to make lives of the hearing impaired easier, and more independent. Here is a list of 10 design innovations for the hearing impaired, which will kill the need for interpreters entirely.
Communicaid is a novel concept designed by Jaepyung Lee, which will make it easy for the deaf to communicate with those who can hear. This piece of equipment comprises of three devices that can blend with different needs in various situations. The Communicaid Visual Sound Station, will allow a user to recognize sounds even when he is indoors. Two MEMS microphones are embedded inside the device that captures sound from fire alarm, doorbell etc and converts them into visual patterns, which get displayed in the form of pictograms and blinking lights. It also consists of a mobile communicator that can convert sounds into text.
2. Seek Deaf Informational Navigational System
Seek will prove to be quite helpful in case the hearing impaired are traveling or globetrotting. Conceived by Jesse Hill, it is a Deaf Informational Navigational System that will help the deaf explore new places unassisted and will inject a sense of complete independence in them. Seek features three important parts, namely Nate, Pinpoint and Compass, which help sprinkle a lot of freedom in the life of deaf. Pinpoint will record all the travel routes taken by a user and works like a GPS transmitter. The compass helps in navigation, while the Nate is a locator and lets a user find different stores and other places in a specific area.
Viktoria Volosin has designed the Signtel, which helps convert speech into sign language and vice-versa. It will help bridge the gap between the hearing and the hearing-impaired. Signtel will prove to be quite beneficial and inject a lot of confidence amongst deaf who may shy away from the hearing population in case they fail to put across their point via sign language.
4. Soft Touch
Soft Touch is a great innovation by designers from the University of Derby in United Kingdom. Alister Notridge, Nick Squires, Stuart Winkless, Murray LIppiat and Nicola Jacobs have crafted an alarm clock that vows to make the life of hearing impaired easy. This alarm clock can double as an alert-er as well. Soft Touch has been fitted with sensors that will warn the user about any upcoming danger. It consists of an inflatable wristband that is accompanied by a micro pump. The device gently presses against the wrist of the user whenever the micro pump receives any signals that can do any damage.
5. Emergency Alert Device
The egg-shaped device, named Emergency Alert, has been conceived by Sergej Kuckir. The ingenious piece of equipment makes use of light signals and vibrations to alert the hearing impaired about potential dangers. Emergency Alert Device is accompanied by a charging cradle that can also be used as an alarm clock.
Watching television or playing games does not carry the same charm for the hearing impaired as it does for the normal population. The failure to sense sound makes the experience quite bland. But, not anymore! Isabelle Olsson, Fredrik Hylten and Maria Johansson have joined hands with The Swedish Association of Hard of Hearing, and designed Ictus. The seating cushion comes wedged with in-built vibration speakers that will escalate the overall experience.
7. Beyond Silence Digital Piano for Hearing Impaired
Music has never been associated with people who cannot hear. But, Hakyung Kim, Jina Kim and Suyoung Lee have come out to change the whole perception with their product, named Beyond Silence Digital Piano for Hearing Impaired. It will help deaf to feel and sense the vibrations produced by music. The piano can be played by feeling the vibrations on the ground, which are a result of a diaphragm that comes fitted with Beyond Silence.
8. Special Glasses
Sony has crafted Special Movies Glasses that will enrich the overall experience of watching a movie in the life of hearing disabled. They will be made available outside movie theaters, just like 3D glasses. These can flash subtitles in the field of view of the user to escalate the overall cinematic experience.
9. LED Ball
A game of soccer played among deaf can prove to be quite a task for the referee. In case of a foul, it becomes difficult for the referee to send an indication (through flags or whistles) to stop the game as the players are way too engrossed concentrating at the ball. This is when LED Ball can prove to be beneficial. It comes fitted with a circuit board, LED strip and a remote control. The referee can send proper signals by pressing the button on the remote control, which in turn flashes a signal on the ball with the help of LEDs. The players then get the apt signal and can act accordingly.
10. Mo Pix
Mo Pix will prove to be beneficial for both the hearing and visually impaired. It will narrate movie scenes for the blind and flash subtitles for the deaf. Wow! The personal device won’t act as a hindrance for others. Mo Pix puts on show reversed text on a LED display that has been fitted in the rear part of the movie hall. This can be viewed by the user with the help of transparent acrylic panel fitted to their seats for easy viewing.