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New system helps deafblind people to communicate

15 January 2013

A team of researchers has prototyped a device to help deafblind people to communicate and surf the Internet. 'TacTic' is aimed primarily at those who use the Malossi language.

The work was carried out at the Alcoy campus of the Universitat Politècnica de València, together with companies Innovatec and Indra. A tactile stimulation system has been implemented on a glove, which is provided with 26 motors, each representing a letter of the alphabet and distributed along the hand. A keyboard, a charger and various wireless modules complete the package.

The system consists of two interfaces, one for computer access and one for smartphones. In both cases, TacTic enables users equipped with the touch glove to surf the web, read books or other text files, check emails, communicate via Messenger and even get a tactile representation of images and music.

The system also features a virtual interpreter that allows any user to communicate with another touch glove wearer, enabling the sending and receiving of messages and a voice recognition module. It also has a support system for emergencies, with the user's geolocation, which can send a warning text message.

In addition, researchers have designed a PC application that reproduces video files (films and TV series) with subtitles, which are sent to the user's touch glove.

This technology could help deafblind people to enhance their relationship with the outside world. Until now they can only communicate with people who know the specific language used by people with this disability and have very limited access to web content.

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