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Aug 17, 2017,  by Allianz Partners Business Insights

How technology is helping people who are unable to speak

Though many are still in the prototype phase, a number of innovations could help the daily lives of people who are mute, by helping them to communicate with those who do not know sign language.

 

Sometimes, new technologies lead to solutions that can make disabled people's daily lives significantly easier. In the future, several devices that are still in development could make life much easier for mutes.

 

Transforming vibrations into real sounds

 

In China, a group of researchers have developed an artificial larynx made out of graphene, an allotrope of carbon, whose porosity enables it to transform vibrations into sound.

The first mock-up, which was finished at the beginning of the year, is not yet ready for use. But, in time, when fixed to the user's neck, the device could transform the vibrations emitted by the wearer into sounds that are audible to everyone.

 

Gloves to translate sign language

 

A student in London (United Kingdom), meanwhile, has invented a pair of particularly innovative connected gloves. Named "SignLanguage", this device translates the movements of sign language into sounds. The theory is very simple: the device captures the movements of the fingers and the position of the hands. Once the character has been identified, an electronic chip gives the audio version, explains Objet Connecté magazine.

Other mock-ups of similar objects have also been presented, such as "Sign Aloud", the work of students from the MIT in the United States:

 

Voice commands replaced by finger movements

 

Another innovation from the MIT, "Nailo" connected nails enable the wearer to launch certain features of a device just by moving their finger, via Bluetooth.

One day, we might even envisage working devices that usually use voice commands in this way. Again, this system is far from operational, but it does give a glimmer of hope for improving the daily lives of people who are mute.

 

A gadget that helps you understand disability

 

The "Speech jammer" is more of a gadget than a technological jewel, but its ability to open peoples' minds should not be underestimated. Available since 2012 via the website or mobile app, this tool, which originally appeared in Japan, records your voice and plays it back through your earphones with a slight delay.

Highly frustrating for the average person, this device enables the user to better understand what mute people go through on a daily basis, when they are interacting with the outside world. 

 

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