A pair of glasses that alert deaf people about loud noises – like the honk of a car horn have been developed.
A group of researchers from the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) in Daejeon built a pair of glasses which allows the wearer to “see” when a loud sound is made, and gives an indication of where it came from.
An array of seven microphones, mounted on the frame of the glasses, pinpoints the location of such sounds and relays that directional information to the wearer through a set of LEDs embedded inside the frame. The glasses will only flash alerts on sounds louder than a threshold level, which is defined by the wearer, the New Scientist reported.There where earlier attempts to develop devices to aid the deaf with the surrounding noises but it didn’t bring any success. A research in 2003 at the University of California, Berkeley, used a computer monitor to provide users with a visual aid to pinpoint the location of a sound.
The Korean team have not overcome this problem yet – the prototype requires a user to carry a laptop around in a backpack to process the signal. However, the lead researcher Yang-Hann Kim says that the prototype is the first iteration and that it will be miniaturised over the next few years.
The KAIST team presented the work at the InterNoise conference in New York City.