For deafblind individuals, the absence of visual and auditory communication channels can prevent meaningful interactions with the people and world around them, leading many to suffer with both mental and social issues. To utilise the available sensory channels (e.g. taste, haptic, and olfactory) of deafblind individuals, tactile stimuli are one type of feedback that can be employed to enable communication with the outside world. We have developed a wearable assistive device that converts speech and text into tactile stimuli, and vice versa, to enable efficient communication between deafblind and non-impaired individuals. In addition to employing tactile stimuli, we believe that olfactory and taste stimuli may also be incorporated into future versions of the system in order to deliver non-time sensitive information, such as local navigational data.
This research is supported by National Research Foundation, Prime Minister's Office, Singapore under its International Research Centers in Singapore Funding Initiatives.