Jae Pyung Lee / Academy of Art University
The Communicaid is a system that can facilitate communication between deaf and hearing people. It’s designed for the people who were born deaf and didn’t acquire language early or that have lost it in early childhood. Communicaid Visual Sound Station and Glasses are portable devices for indoor/outdoor use. It catches important sounds from the environment and alerts them visually. The Mobile Communicator is a handheld device that communicates with hearing people more efficiently and conveniently.
Communicade is packed with some beautiful concepts that tackle communication problems associated with hard of hearing. The judges really appreciated how the designer tweaked established and accessible technologies to provide meaningful connections and feedback to help them live more normal lives.
The Communicaid is a system that can facilitate communication between deaf and hearing people. It’s designed for the people who were born deaf and didn’t acquire language early or that have lost it in early childhood. Communicaid Visual Sound Station and Glasses are portable devices for indoor/outdoor use. It catches important sounds from the environment and alerts them visually. The Mobile Communicator is a handheld device that communicates with hearing people more efficiently and conveniently.2. The Brief: Summarize the problem you set out to solve. What was the context for the project, and what was the challenge posed to you?
Communication is a major challenge that deaf people encounter daily in a hearing society. If a device can facilitate communication between deaf and hearing people, then deaf people will feel more comfortable communicating with hearing people. Moreover, this device will help bridge the communica¬tion gap between deaf and hearing people. In this particular project, blending in deaf culture and understanding their life style were important factors. I enjoyed meeting deaf people and spending time with them during the research phase. However, simply communicating with deaf people without an interpreter was not easy. Many deaf people do not benefit from hearing aids for normal conversation. I visited a variety of organizations and deaf social meetings to find out what kind of difficulties deaf people face in a hearing environment. I interviewed not only deaf people but also co-workers, ASL interpreters/translators, volunteers and hearing people who have a deaf family member. Through interviews, volunteer work at a deaf service center and observations, I found what difficulties they struggle with. To find out more, I temporarily simulated my own hearing loss and tried to communicate with hearing people and to think from deaf people’s point of view.3. The Intent: What point of view did you bring to the project, and were there additional criteria that you added to the brief?
What would it feel like if we, from birth, never heard birds singing, the laughter of children or the sound of the ocean? Our sense of hearing allows us to interact with our environment and communicate, the human ear fulfills a very important role in our daily life. For example, we hear an approaching car before we see it and get information about the world around us from sound. Human beings have well developed language of speech which also helps us to communicate with one another. Deaf people, however, do not have these benefits. They not only can’t hear but may not speak. This may be due to early acquired deafness. Hearing aids may not help to lead a normal life so sign lan¬guage is their first language but the majority of hearing people don’t know it. There are severe limits on deaf people’s chances to benefit or use services such as captioning, interpreters and jobs. Statistically, they have a low level of education because of commu¬nication difficulties and about 60% of deaf people are unemployed.
The goal of my project is to make a device or system for deaf people to communicate with hearing people more efficiently and conveniently in a word full of sound.
Deaf people who were born deaf and did not acquire language early, that were born hearing but lost it in childhood. Who do not benefit from hearing aids for normal conversation and must use ASL and written forms of communi¬cation. Another stakeholder is hearing people who have deaf family member(s), who work with deaf employees, teach deaf students or even people examine deaf patients. Current technology that would be implemented with this device would have speech recognition, text-to-speech (TTS), sound analysis technology which are audio signals that produce specific technology while eliminating false alarms, high quality MEMS microphones, that would boast superior reliability and robustness. Other technologies that are informed would be the use of flexible OLED touch screen that would display high quality at low power, as well as supporting users input. Lastly the lighting would be powered by high power LEDs that would produce high lighting at low power consumption.5. The Value: How does your project earn its keep in the world? What is its value? What is its impact? (Social, educational, economic, paradigm-shifting, sustainable, environmental, cultural, gladdening, etc.)
American Sign Language is the first language of many deaf people, but the majority of hearing people don’t know it. This results in communication difficulties between deaf and hearing people. Deaf people may need the help of hearing people on an hourly, daily and weekly basis. (One-on-one conversations, group conversations, phone conversations, medical ap¬pointments, etc.) There are a low number of certified American Sign Language interpreters in the USA. Deaf people spend more money on communication tools compared to hearing people. (From visual alerting systems to one-on-one communication tools)
Small companies can’t always afford to hire American Sign Language interpreters for deaf workers on a regular basis. There a lot of problems that are stated before, but with Communicaid, it will impact the disabled people that can’t hear with the people that can hear, thus connecting a bridge or a new line that would allow them to talk to one another and creating a better social output.