Singapore students win award for device that helps deaf people navigate

Part of the team that designed Peri (worn by Mr Andrew Sng, second from left), which was inspired by video games. PHOTO: THE STRAITS TIMES
Part of the team that designed Peri (worn by Mr Andrew Sng, second from left), which was inspired by video games. PHOTO: THE STRAITS TIMES

A gadget for deaf people designed by Singapore students has come out on top in a contest for students organised in 23 countries.

The winners of the £2,000 (S$3,500) James Dyson Award cash prize here are seven graduates from the Singapore University of Technology and Design.

Peri consists of RGB (red, green and blue) LEDs attached to the sides of a pair of spectacle frames. The lights, connected to asmall computer to which a microphone is attached, flash in different colours to identify the direction and intensity of a sound.

Users can customise the colours and patterns triggered by, for example, the sound of an oncoming vehicle.

The team started their research in 2014. After months of consulting people who had hearing impairment, they decided to design a device that would improve their situational awareness.

The target users are those who are severely hard of hearing or completely deaf and unable to benefit much from hearing aids.

They got the idea from video games, where lights are often used to signal that a player is being “attacked” from the side.

Another source of inspiration was the Google Glass, an optical head-mounted display shaped like a pair of spectacles.

Team member Yi Jiayu, 24, said some were concerned the device could make their disabilities easily recognisable, so it must be as sleek as possible.

This article was originally published on The New Paper.


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