TECH RINGS GIVE THE DEAF A ‘VOICE’
By Don Ferguson on Sunday, November 24, 2013
Being the overenthusiastic-borderline-ADHD-five-year-old-that’s-had-too-much-sugar type that I am – it’s no surprise that a bit of science-fiction, Blade Runner style tech has me saying “this is the best thing I have ever seen”… but “this is the best thing I have ever seen”.
What the “thing” is, is a very space-age bracelet and set of detachable Sign Language Rings for the hearing impaired, translating the distinct movements of sign-language into a ‘voice’ for the wearer. The winner of the much sought-after and prestigious red dot international product design award, the wearer can engage in complex every day signing conversations in which what they ‘say’ is translated into a disembodied computer voice from a speaker in the bracelet.
Created by half a dozen very talented designers from Tokyo’s Asia University – and inspired in style by Buddhist prayer beads –this innovation really does offer an immediate, and arguably the most practical, use of wearable tech to date.
What’s more, the device has the functionality to translate the voice of the wearer’s verbal sparring partner into text, transcribing spoken language picked up by a microphone into text displayed on the bracelet’s scrolling screen.
Much like smart-phone smart dictionaries and predictive text, the user also has the opportunity to pre-record an array of signing movements and assign specific words to them – going someway to solving the multiplicity and distinct nuances of sign-languages in existence.
Quite simply, amazing.