For people who are both deaf and blind, the hurdles in communicating with others can often lead to crippling social isolation. A new “smart” glove by Germany’s Design Research Lab, however, allows its wearer to compose and transmit messages to smartphones or other mobile devices. Based on a hand-touch language known as Lorm, which assigns letters of the alphabet to different parts of one’s palm, the glove includes textile pressure sensors that allow the user to “lorm” onto his or her own hand to compose a message, then transmit it to the intended recipient through the magic of Bluetooth.
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Since communication works both ways—at least in an ideal world—so does the glove. Small vibration motors on the back of the device translate any incoming messages into tactile feedback patterns that spell out its contents. This way, the glove doesn’t only support mobile communication such as SMS, chat, or email, but it also enables parallel one-to-many communication in school-type settings for people with no knowledge of Lorm.
The Lorm glove supports mobile communication such as SMS, chat, or email.
Fostering interpersonal relationships aren’t the glove’s only application. “With this newly developed technology and interaction, it will soon become possible to also “feel” e-books or audibooks,” says Tom Bieling, the project’s lead researcher. His next goal? Implementing direct speech input and output.