Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Deaf get help "hearing" with skin

30.11.2009
An apparatus that converts sound to vibrations makes it possible for individuals who are deaf and blind or severely hearing impaired to perceive and recognize sounds with their skin.

The method, which can also be adapted for infants, has been developed by engineering researcher Parivash Ranjbar, who is submitting his findings in a new dissertation at Örebro University in Sweden.

Above all, individuals who are both deaf and blind are a vulnerable group that find it difficult to understand what is going on in their surroundings. But the new aid, which has been named "Monitor," enables them to distinguish different kinds of sounds, such as voices, telephones, birdsong, cars, thunder, rain, and wind.

"After brief training, one of my trial subjects could even understand what was being said in a conversation," says Parivash Ranjbar.

Converted to lower frequencies
The apparatus works by registering sounds and converting them to lower frequencies that the skin can perceive as vibrations, without the sound losing its distinct character. While human hearing can perceive sound frequencies between 20 and 20,000 Hz, the skin cannot sense frequencies higher than 800 Hz. Moreover, the skin cannot distinguish between sounds that are too close to each other.

"The deaf-blind already have an acquired ability to glean information from vibrations. For example, they can recognize the step of different individuals through the vibrations in the floor, or feel the vibrations from a pot when the water starts to boil. But with Monitor, they have entirely new possibilities of keeping up with what's going on in their surroundings, and this makes them feel much more secure."

Easy to use
When Parivash Ranjbar had a group of deaf-blind people test the apparatus, they managed to identify a large portion of the sounds, both in the home and outdoors.

"It was easy for the trial subjects to learn to use it, even for those who were born deaf and therefore have no sound library to fall back on."

Monitor, which is small enough for people to carry with them everywhere, consists of a microphone that picks up sounds, a processor that converts them, and a vibrator part that conveys them. The vibrator can also be mounted in pacifiers and bottle nipples to provide infants born without hearing with a chance to become familiar with sounds through their lips and perceive what is going on around them.

Early learning
"Learning early is a great advantage. This also gives parents the possibility of communicating with their babies through their voices, which is especially important if the child is also blind."

"Many more aids can be developed using this technology, such as helping people who are deaf and blind to ride horseback, using vibrations that communicate their position on a track. I'm constantly getting new ideas when I see the needs and possibilities actually exist," says Parivash Ranjbar.

Parivash Ranjbar is a computer engineer with a background as a practical nurse, and much of her research was carried out at the Audiological Research Center in Örebro.

For more information, please contact Parivash Ranjbar, cell phone: +46 (0)70-221 36 50.

Ingrid Lundegårdh | idw
Further information:
http://www.vr.se

Further reports about: Sound recognize sounds with their skin vibrations

More articles from Power and Electrical Engineering:

nachricht Did you know that the wrapping of Easter eggs benefits from specialty light sources?
13.04.2017 | Heraeus Noblelight GmbH

nachricht To e-, or not to e-, the question for the exotic 'Si-III' phase of silicon
05.04.2017 | Carnegie Institution for Science

All articles from Power and Electrical Engineering >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Fighting drug resistant tuberculosis – InfectoGnostics meets MYCO-NET² partners in Peru

28.04.2017 | Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Wireless power can drive tiny electronic devices in the GI tract

28.04.2017 | Medical Engineering

Ice cave in Transylvania yields window into region's past

28.04.2017 | Earth Sciences

Nose2Brain – Better Therapy for Multiple Sclerosis

28.04.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>