Science & Technology
Deaf man is able to hear using Wi-Fi signals
November 20, 2014 | 3 comments
The system uses a mobile phone to send the audio to a hearing aid. Image Credit: CC BY-SA 2.0 kalleboo
Frank Swain uses an experimental system to convert electromagnetic signals in to audible sounds.
The 32-year-old teamed up with sound artist Daniel Jones to create "Phantom Terrains", a tool that can convert Wi-Fi signals in to noise through a smartphone and then output it to a hearing aid.
The system, which was developed thanks to a grant from UK innovation charity Nesta, can pick up specific details about nearby signals and assign each one a unique sonic tone.
With it Swain is able to build up a Wi-Fi map as he walks around.
"It was a big blow to learn I was going deaf at such a young age, but through this project I've seen that actually I can use the situation I'm in to my advantage, and explore abilities that nobody else gets to experience," he said.
"I don't feel like I've lost something any more, instead I feel like I've gained something."
Swain believes that with the rise in voice activated systems like Siri it might not be long before we see a lot more people wearing earpieces designed to communicate information from a smartphone.
"We're reaching a new stage of how we interact with our devices," he said.
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