An EU-wide project is working to create haptic clothing to allow the deafblind to communicate
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Spotted: An EU-sponsored project called SUITCEYES (Smart, User-friendly, Interactive, Tactual, Cognition-Enhancer that Yields Extended Sensosphere), developed in conjunction with researchers in Sweden, Greece and the UK, has developed clothing that can help the deafblind to communicate. The clothing works by incorporating haptic signalling. This is a technique used by those who aid the deafblind, where the helper communicates by touching the hand, or other parts of the body, of the deafblind person.
Researchers at the Swedish University of Borås were responsible for creating the textiles, which incorporate cameras and sensors to act as a haptic interface. Researchers at the Centre for Research and Technology in Helles, Greece, are responsible for data capture and object and face recognition software, while a team at the University of Leeds is developing software for perception and navigation. Prototype testing will be conducted at the Eindhoven University of Technology in the Netherlands. Other teams, located at universities in France, Poland and Germany, will be performing outreach.
The finished project will integrate all of the parts so that cameras and sensors incorporated in the clothing send data to software, which recognises objects and faces the surroundings, then translates this into vibration and other haptic signals. The wearer then feels these through actuators in the clothing. In August 2020, the project is holding a symposium in Borås to present the project.