Hair Clip Lets Deaf People Sense Sound
The device vibrates in the direction of a sound, mimicking its rhythm and vibrating harder for louder sounds
Fujitsu user interface designer Tatsuya Honda was inspired by the way cats used their whiskers to detect movement in the air. Using this same concept, Honda created Ontenna, a wearable that allows deaf individuals to detect sound around them. It also doubles as a hair clip.
The device functions differently than a hearing aid, vibrating in the direction of sound against a person's hair. The device mimics the rhythm and loudness of a sound, such as vibrating softly when someone clicks a pen or vibrating loudly when a tea kettle goes off. While Honda also tested the device to vibrate against someone's skin, but during testing discovered a user would feel the vibrations much clearer from their hair. Ontenna does not replace the need for a hearing aid.