Vest - Archive

VIBRATING VEST TO LET DEAF PEOPLE ‘FEEL’ SOUND

May 1, 2015 in Community News

 

 

RICE UNIVERSITY
Posted by Patrick Kurp-Rice

A vest that allows the profoundly deaf to “feel” and understand speech is under development.

The vest features dozens of embedded sensors that vibrate in specific patterns to represent words. VEST—Versatile Extra-Sensory Transducer—responds to input from a phone or tablet app that isolates speech from ambient sound.

A team of undergraduates is working on VEST with Scott Novich, a doctoral student in electrical and computer engineering at Rice University who works in the lab of neuroscientist David Eagleman.

Novich devised the algorithm that enables the VEST to “hear” only the human voice and screen out distracting sounds.

‘FEELING THE SONIC WORLD’

The low-cost, noninvasive vest collects sounds from a mobile app and converts them into tactile vibration patterns on the user’s torso. Haptic feedback supplants auditory input.

The first VEST prototype put together by the team has 24 actuators sewn into the back. A second version, already in production, will include 40 of the actuators Eagleman calls “vibratory motors.” He described the experience, at least for a hearing person, as “feeling the sonic world around me.”

“Along with all the actuators, the system includes a controller board and two batteries,” says Gary Woods, the team’s adviser and a professor in the practice of computer technology. “The actuators vibrate in a very complicated pattern based on audio fed through a smartphone. The patterns are too complicated to translate consciously.”

With training, the brains of deaf people adapt to the “translation” process, Eagleman says. Test subjects, some of them deaf from birth, “listened” to spoken words and wrote them on a white board. “They can start understanding the ‘language’ of the vest,” he says.


Read more  . . Watch Video (captioned)  . . . Vest

Vest translates sound into vibration for the hearing impaired

September 17, 2014 in Community News

 

engadget
by Sean Buckley

When we think about gadgets to aid the hearing impairedcochlear implants usually come to mind — but these devices are expensive and require invasive surgery. Neuroscientist Dr. David Eagleman and graduate student Scott Novich have another idea: sensory substation clothing. The two are developing a hearing device that you wear on your torso. It’s called the Vibrotactile Extra-Sensory Transducer (or simply “Vest” for short) and it translates sound into tactile feedback. Eaglman says that with training, the brain can actually learn to translate Vest’s vibrations into useful data — meaning that wearers could potentially “hear” through their skin.

It sounds insane, but Eagleman says it’s not all that different than from how hearing works naturally. The brain, he explains, can’t actually hear — it’s just interpreting electrical signals . . .

VIEW Pictures & READ MORE . . .