The Design Research Lab in Berlin has developed a glove that provides a way for people who are deaf and blind to communicate digitally. Named the Mobile Lorm Glove, this product has the ability to translate text into “Lorm,” a hand-touch alphabet used by deaf blind people. Such a product allows them to communicate via SMS messaging, email and online chat.Textile pressure sensors located on the palm of the glove enable the deafblind user to “lorm” onto his or her own hand to compose text messages.

A Bluetooth connection transmits the data from the glove to the user’s handheld device. It is then automatically forwarded to the receiver’s handheld device in the form of an SMS. If the wearer of the Mobile Lorm Glove receives a text message, the message will be forwarded via Bluetooth from his/her handheld device to the glove. Initiated by small vibration motors located on the back of the glove, tactile feedback patterns allow the wearer to perceive incoming messages.

The Mobile Lorm Glove provides particularly two innovative ways of communication for deafblind people. It supports mobile communication over distance, e.g.  text message, chat or e-mail, and it enables parallel one-to-many communication, which is especially helpful in school and other learning contexts. With this newly developed technology and interaction, it will soon become possible to also „feel” E-Books or Audiobooks. The Mobile Lorm Glove functions as a simultaneous translator and makes communicating with others without knowledge of “Lorm” possible. As a result, it empowers deafblind people to engage with a wider social world and further enhances their independence.

The Mobile Lorm Glove is part of the project “DESIGNABILITIES – Disability-inspired Interaction”, which in a larger research scheme focuses on perspectives for Interaction Design in terms of an enhancement of Information-Communication-Technologies and Human-Computer-Interaction, by transferring properties from “disability” contexts (e.g. deaf/blind communication) into general contexts of communication (e.g. localisation in loud or crowded environments via gesture-based or tactile info transfer).


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