Novel Vibrating Glove can Help People with Profound Hearing Loss

Today, the lost hearing can be restored only with the help of a surgical operation to install special implants. However, this method is not always effective. Artem Brazhnikov, a master student of the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering, Metallurgy and Transport of Samara Polytech suggests to solve the problem with the help of a vibrating glove designed by him. Most recently, a young scientist received a patent for his invention.

Initially, Artem designed a joystick glove with which you can play computer games with one hand. Then the young man improved the device and turned it into an unusual hearing aid. To make the joystick glove the vibro-glove, the engineer removed the finger position sensors, provided the glove with tactile feedback modules (vibration motors), and converted the electronic control unit from a game controller into an audio signal spectrum analyzer.

"When a person loses his hearing, his other senses become more acute. The sensory substitution occurs: the brain compensates the lack of information from one sense organ at the expense of others", says Artem. "A vibrating glove is a retranslator that converts sounds into tactile sensations".

A glove microphone amplifies the audio signal and transmits it to a spectrum analyzer that splits the audio range into separate frequency bands. Each tactile module corresponds to one sound strip. The strength of a tactile stimulation is proportional to the amplitude of sound vibrations in the corresponding frequency band. This process is somewhat similar to playing a keyboard musical instrument.

"For example, a piano has many keys, pressing which (tactile stimulation) generates a certain note, that is, a sound vibration of a certain frequency", Artem explains. "Now imagine that there is an instrument that performs the opposite operation, that is, catches notes (sound vibrations) and converts them into keystrokes (tactile stimulation). A person playing such an instrument does not hear the sounds it makes, but feels how the piano itself presses the keys. So a vibrating glove is a piano, but only working vice versa".

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