You slide it around your arm and then the sleeve ‘listens’ in front of you for conversations. It may sound like science fiction, but a group of students is researching it. Deaf and hard of hearing people can follow spoken language better this way.
The sleeve should also start working in the future if someone speaks another language that you don’t understand. He then knows a lot of languages, if it works out well.
Here’s how it works: the sleeve converts things people say into different vibrations that you can feel with your arm. By recognizing the vibrations, you know which words someone is saying. You must of course first learn which vibration belongs to which word. The students call it ‘trill language’.
Every sound in a word has its own vibration. In total there are 39 different sounds and therefore as many different vibrations that you have to learn to understand vibratory language.
We visited the students who came up with the sleeve.
With the vibrating sleeve, deaf and hard of hearing people no longer need to be very close to someone to understand them. That has to be done with lip reading or sign language.
Students from Eindhoven University of Technology have developed the sleeve. After working on it for a year, a first version is now ready. The sleeve now takes about two seconds per word to translate it into vibrations. The students hope that this will become easier and faster in the future.