Bloomberg Anywhere Login

Bloomberg

Connecting decision makers to a dynamic network of information, people and ideas, Bloomberg quickly and accurately delivers business and financial information, news and insight around the world.

Company

Financial Products

Enterprise Products

Media

Customer Support

  • Americas

    +1 212 318 2000

  • Europe, Middle East, & Africa

    +44 20 7330 7500

  • Asia Pacific

    +65 6212 1000

Communications

Industry Products

Media Services

Follow Us

Businessweek Archives

Now, The Deaf Can Listen With Their Fingers


DEVELOPMENTS TO WATCH

NOW, THE DEAF CAN LISTEN--WITH THEIR FINGERS

Today, many blind people use their fingers to read. Tomorrow, deaf people may do the same to hear. That's because Australian scientists, led by Robert Cowen at the University of Melbourne, have developed a Walkman-size gadget dubbed the Tickle Talker.

Its microphone listens to speech, and a digital-signal processing chip sorts out sounds, particularly those that are hard to distinguish by lip-reading. Each sound triggers an electrical signal that is sent to a specific spot on ringlike bands worn on the fingers of one hand. For example, "s" and "z" sounds are felt as a tickling sensation on the outside of the little finger.

After a couple of weeks of training, one severely deaf lip-reading adult scored 100% in word- and sentence-comprehension tests, up from 60% and 75%, respectively, with just a hearing aid. Another adult, who is profoundly deaf -- a hearing aid is of no benefit -- nearly doubled his scores from levels of 30% to 50% for words, sentences, and consonant sounds.EDITED BY FLEUR TEMPLETON


LIMITED-TIME OFFER SUBSCRIBE NOW
 
blog comments powered by Disqus