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Students develop prototype that lets you 'see' sounds

Students have developed an eyeglasses attachment that will display sounds for those who are hard of hearing.

A group of students from the Singapore University of Technology and Design unveiled the special attachment, which fits on any glasses, that lights up at the edges when sound is detected in a particular direction.

Writing about the project, they shared: "According to the World Health Organization, 5% of the world's population, is affected by deafness - a hidden disability. We designed a low cost spectacle add-on which allows the deaf and hard of hearing to visualize sounds using visual cues.

"We rely almost exclusively on our sense of sound to keep track of things beyond our field of vision, so a deaf or hard of hearing individual may face delays or difficulties in responding to danger and opportunities around him. Moreover just as the silence of electric cars poses a risk to hearing pedestrians, a car honking at a deaf person beyond their field of vision poses a risk too.

"We wanted to design a product which improves situational awareness for the deaf and hard of hearing, especially in unfamiliar and dynamic environments. Some of the inspirations were the Heads Up Display in First Person Shooter games and the Google Glass."

The device works by matching sounds it hears to predefined ones that have already been stored and flashing a colour on the screen when that sound is heard.

They added: "The circuit for the hardware consists of an Arduino microcontroller, microphone, RGB LED and a Li-Po battery. The circuit is programmed to show specific light patterns on according to the sound detected. Sounded recognition is performed using Fast Fourier Transform which matches the predefined tones stored in the microcontroller.

"The RGB led is guided by a strip of acrylic - creating an edge lit effect - illuminating in front of the user's eyes. The device is an spectacle add-on which can be attached to a pair of spectacles."

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