Saturday, May 26, 2012

Someday, An Awesome Heads-Up Display With Captions and Sound Indicators?

A few days ago I visited my audiologist to get some more hearing aid batteries and have the aids cleaned in preparation for summer (hotter days equal more sweat, which can damage the aid). I saw my audiologist as he was leaving and we had a brief conversation about this blog. The key part of the conversation, though, was that I didn't have my hearing aids in; I couldn't actually hear a word he said, but I was able to follow his words by lipreading.

I was pretty proud of myself for the accomplishment (I don't practice much without my aids, and rely on them a lot), but maybe in a few years I might not actually need to lipread. It looks as though Google is looking into a way to use its Google Glasses (wearable augmented-reality glasses, which overlay information in front of wearers' eyes) to create a text-to-speech feature.

Google Co-Founder Sergey Brin Sports the New Google Glasses at Dinner in the Dark, a Benefit for the Foundation Fighting Blindness -- San Francisco, CA
Image via Flickr user Thomas Hawk
Google filed for a patent titled "Displaying sound indications on a wearable computing system" and was issued the patent on March 22 along with six others related to Google Glasses. According to Ars Technica, the patent doesn't mention Google Glasses but seems very likely to be related. The display would display what people nearby are saying as captions as well as "show arrows and flashing lights to indicate the direction and intensity level of the sound." The device would also be able to identify sounds for the person wearing it.

Of course the system may not be reliable right out the gate and the entire Google Glasses project has some problems to overcome, but I think this is a great taste of what is out there, technology-wise, to help deaf people. I'd give them a try for sure.

1 comment:

  1. What a neat idea! As someone who has been profoundly deaf since hte age of 4, live in a hearing world and am now a senior, I will watch this development with great interest. Thank you for posting this information.

    Rosemary Pryde


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