The Mobile Lorm Glove is a communication and translation device for the visually challenged and hearing impaired. It translates the hand-touch alphabet Lorm, a common form of communication used by people with both hearing and vision impairment, into digital text and vice-versa.
The prototype translates “Lorm” into digital text and vice versa. Lorm is a series of hand-tracing gestures that map to characters of the alphabet, used as a common form of communication by people with both hearing and vision impairment. Originally, to communicate with the visually challenged and hearing impaired, we must first learn Lorm and communicators need to have physical contact. With the Mobile Lorm Glove, however, we need only know how to send text messages to remotely communicate with each other. As a result, it empowers visually challenged and hearing impaired people to engage with a wider social world and further enhances their independence.
When a visually challenged and hearing impaired person wearing the glove receives a text, motors — the same kinds that make your cell phone vibrate — translate words into vibrations spelling out the Lorm alphabet’s letters on the dorsal side of the hand. When a visually challenged and hearing impaired person wants to send a message, he need only tap letters onto glove’s palm side. The glove then translates the haptic information into digital text, connects through Bluetooth to an iPhone app, and sends the message as a text or an email.
Bieling theorized that mirroring the palm-based Lorm system on the top of the hand could serve as a way for the glove to receive messages. And it worked: The visually challenged and hearing impaired people in his study reported that they could understand incoming Lorm vibrations on the tops of their hands just as well as they could when someone tapped out letters in their palms.
To communicate with others, the user wearing the glove can trace Lorm directly onto the pressure-sensitive inputs on the palm of the hand. A Bluetooth connection transmits the data from the glove to the user’s handheld device. It is then forwarded to the receiver’s handheld device in the form of a text message. To receive messages from the handheld device, small vibration motors on the back of the hand vibrate to indicate the message encoded in Lorm.
The glove is still in prototype stage.
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