Athens, Greece -- (SBWIRE) -- 04/24/2014 -- For the six million individuals who cannot hear, around the world (most of them in under-developed countries), a cochlear implant can be an expensive step to take in the pursuit of being able to hear the sounds and voices around them. Deaf people will soon have a new and revolutionary option available to them currently being developed.
AudioFeel is working on two systems using the same array concept for feeling the sound:
The first system will connect to a Smartphone through Bluetooth, and using the AudioFeel App, will send surrounding sounds, or phone conversation to a 10x10 pin array. The second system will be an Autonomous System, which will not need a Smartphone to work. A microphone will transfer the sound to a Tactile Vocoder.
In both cases the sound will be broken down into 100 different frequencies, between 200Hz and 3500Hz, and each of these frequencies will be transferred to an array of 100 pins, one cm apart from each other. Each pin will vibrate when its particular frequency is sounded, and will vibrate more or less depending on the intensity of the sound—to help illustrate this, imagine that it would look like a graphic equalizer, only the LED from the graphic equalizer are pins vibrating on the skin. This array can be strapped onto the skin on the wrist (like a watch) or around the abdomen area. The creators of AudioFeel have ascertained that with training, hearing-impaired individuals can learn what each sound feels like and determine its meaning, eventually enabling them to repeat the sounds themselves.
“We developed the concept of AudioFeel when a friend of ours lost his hearing from a viral infection. After doing some research, we found that no commercial device has been produced to transform speech to feel,” said Markos Garras, founder and CEO of AudioFeel.
With a goal of 130,000 Euros, AudioFeel developers have launched an Indiegogo funding campaign to raise money for the development of this project. As part of the Indiegogo campaign, contributors at different levels will be rewarded with a variety of items. For example, a 25 Euro contribution would provide the benefactor with monthly product updates and a “Thumb’s up” on Facebook; for 60 Euros, contributors will receive a T-shirt with the AudioFeel logo and monthly updates; for 120 Euros, the contributor will receive a discount coupon for a family member or friend, for their purchase an AudioFeel system.
To raise awareness of their campaign, which aims at helping those with severe hearing difficulties, AudioFeel has also set up a referral program that gives referrers a variety of rewards. To contribute to AudioFeel’s Indiegogo campaign and qualify for one of their incentives, people may visit the Indiegogo page at any time.
AudioFeel’s team includes founder Markos Garras, who is a practical physicist with an MSc in Hydro Acoustics, as well as an architect with experience in 3D design, a mechanical engineer with experience in construction and design of high technology equipment and a biochemist with experience in human interaction in the pharmaceutical industry. Together, these individuals seek to help hearing-impaired people hear sound and speech by feeling the sound around them. For more information, please visit http://igg.me/at/audiofeel/x/6282861