This Vibrating Sleeve Allows The Wearer To ‘Feel’ Words From Different Languages

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Students from the Eindhoven University of Technology have developed a wearable that will help the user understand another language with the help of vibrations on the arm.

The team is called Team HART and comprises 17 students that brought this technology at TU Eindhoven. They worked on this project for one year to reap the results.

The mechanism involves a computer that currently converts written text into English. However, the team is still working to develop an AI system that can translate the languages into any language. Also, they are looking for ways in which this technology can be incorporated into clothing.  

The vibrations are developed from 39 different sounds of the English language, and each of these is assigned to a unique vibration. This database is then used to drive motors embedded in a fabric sleeve worn by the user to create words or sentences.

However, the computer will not do everything for the user. The user will have to learn the vibration dictionary to understand the meaning of vibrations felt. According to the Industrial Engineering student Lisa Overdevest, who leads Team HART, she was able to learn the dictionary within a month in one-hour sessions every two days.

The applications of the technology include bridging the gap between people with different languages. Also, this device will be very significant for deaf people. They will be able to feel what the other person is saying. Along with that, they will be able to talk to anyone, not just the ones who know sign language.

The team aims to find offline ways to use the technology and create more advanced options in the existing model.

“Now we only control our mobile phone with our fingertips,” said Team HART founder, Mariia Turchina. “Imagine being able to use other parts of your body to take in information more easily, for example through vibrations on your skin. The possibilities are endless.”

The prototypes will be exhibited on Friday, November 26 to their fellow students.

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