For people who are both deaf and blind, communicating with other people can pose an interesting challenge. Usually, this is done using tactile methods, such as signing onto the palm of another person’s hand. But what happens if a blind and deaf person needs to communicate with someone that’s not immediately next to them, or they want to utilize technologies such as text messaging and email?
The Design Research Lab in Germany has developed the Mobile Lorm Glove, a special glove that will help facilitate high-tech communication for deaf-blind people. The concept is simple, yet effective: the palm of the glove is covered with tactile pressure sensors in which the user composes a message using the Lorm Deafblind Manual Alphabet, a universal language for the deaf-blind that involves touching and sweeping various parts of the hand to correspond with letters of the alphabet. As the message is composed, a built-in Bluetooth antenna sends the message to the user’s phone, from where it can be sent to a recipient in the usual ways.
However, since communication should be a two-way street, the Mobile Lorm Glove can also receive messages via Bluetooth, which are sent to a number of vibration motors on the back of the glove for the user to decode using the Lorm alphabet. In this manner, users can communicate with other Mobile Lorm Glove users, as well as anyone else with a phone. Besides being a communication device, the Mobile Lorm Glove could also change the ways that deaf-blind people can learn, as any digital medium, such as e-books or audiobooks, can be “felt” by the user.
Here’s a video explaining the concept:
More info from the Design Research Lab: Mobile Lorm Glove…
Abstract from TEI 2012: Mobile Lorm Glove: introducing a communication device for deaf-blind people
(hat tip: Phys.org)