Eelke Folmer
Human+ Lab
University of Nevada, Reno

A Tactile-Proprioceptive Communication Aid for Users who are Deafblind

Users who are congenitally deafblind often rely on an intervenor with who they communicate with using a manual sign language where manual signs are written in the user's hand. To allow for independent communication several gloves have been developed that can interpret and convey manual signs. These are expensive and not commercially available. We present a low cost communication aid called AUTOSEM that can be implemented using low-cost motion sensing devices, such as cell phones or game controllers.

How it works

Our technique is inspired by flag semaphores. We use combinations of different orientations of the hand itself to define a set of manual signs that can represent an alphabet. This technique can be used for input (e.g. the user holds the controllers in a particular orientation to provide a letter) and output (users scan through the set of available orientations with a haptic cue indicating the target orientation. Both orientations define a semaphore which indicates a letter to the user using their own hands. )


Vinitha Khambadkar and Eelke Folmer. A Tactile-Proprioceptive Communication Aid for Users who are Deafblind. IEEE Haptics Symposium (Haptics'14), pages 239-245, Houston, February 2014. [27% acceptance rate].


This research is supported by NSF grant 1118074