Halley Profita and Nick Farrow wins “Best in Show” (first prize) and “Best in Most Inclusive and Usable Design” for our work “Flutter”. Flutter is a T-shirt that embeds a network of microphones into a shirt to detect the direction of sounds and display them via vibrating winglets on the shirt’s surface. Each microphone locally performs a Fast-Fourier-Transform (FFT) to determine frequencies and their amplitude of incoming sounds. These information are then shared between microphones to detect the position of the strongest sample. More information is available in the paper below.

Halley Profita with “Flutter” receiving 1st price in two categories at the ISWC Design Competition.

Hearing is one of the fundamental sensory inputs that
permits us to respond to and navigate our surrounding
environment. Without intact hearing, the inability to detect
warning signals such as fire alarms, police sirens, and honking
horns can place individuals with impaired hearing at a significant
disadvantage while navigating their environment. Common
assistive technologies such as hearing aids, cochlear implants, and
hearing dogs provide a means for individuals to respond to their
environment more intuitively, however, the situation or context
can render these aids inappropriate. Developing a wearable
system to tactilely relay information can empower an individual
with a hearing impairment to move confidently throughout their
environment without the extraneous need of having small pieces
of technology that can easily get lost (hearing aid) or the need of a
canine escort (supervision can increase cognitive demand and
requires one hand to maintain control of the dog). Flutter
integrates function and fashion to relay information about the
auditory environment for a holistic feedback system. If a sudden
or lou alert is detected, such as the honk of a horn or the blare of
a fire truck, the leaflets of the garment will begin to flutter in the
direction and with the intensity of the signal for haptic
notification.

H. Profita, N. Farrow and N. Correll. Flutter. In adjunct Proceedings of the 16th International Symposium on Wearable Computers (ISWC), pages 44-46, Newcastle upon Tyne, June 2012.

 

19 Responses to “Flutter” wins first prizes at the ISWC design exhibition

  1. 3 Wearable Technologies That Could Make Us Healthier says:

    [...] Flutter is a perfect example of the way textiles and robotics can be combined to improve the quality of life for disabled individuals. Created by Halley Profita, Nicholas Farrow, and Professor Nikolaus Correll at the University of Colorado at Boulder, the Flutter dress gives vibrotactile feedback in the direction of a loud sound or alarm to help those with hearing loss respond more intuitively to their external environment. The team also says that development of this wearable technology would also cut down on e-waste created by discarded hearing devices. [...]

  2. [...] Flutter is a excellent example of the way fabrics and robotics can be mixed to enhance the quality of life for disabled people. Developed by Halley Profita, Nicholas Farrow, and Professor Nikolaus Correll at the University of Colorado at Boulder, the Flutter dress provides vibrotactile feedback in the path of a loud sound or alarm to help those with hearing loss respond more intuitively to their external environment. The team also says that development of this wearable technology would also cut down on e-waste created by discarded hearing devices. [...]

  3. [...] actually a complicated framework of wires and microphones under the dress that detect where the emitted sounds are coming [...]

  4. [...] actually a complicated framework of wires and microphones under the dress that detect where the emitted sounds are coming [...]

  5. [...] “The network of microphones [listens] for sounds in the environment, they are connected with microcontrollers that talk to each other, and they kind of vote on the direction,” says Halley Profita, the University of Colorado PhD student behind the dress. [...]

  6. [...] “The network of microphones [listens] for sounds in the environment, they are connected with microcontrollers that talk to each other, and they kind of vote on the direction,” says Halley Profita, the University of Colorado PhD student behind the dress. [...]

  7. [...] “The network of microphones [listens] for sounds in the environment, they are connected with microcontrollers that talk to each other, and they kind of vote on the direction,” says Halley Profita, the University of Colorado PhD student behind the dress. [...]

  8. [...] “The network of microphones [listens] for sounds in the environment they are connected with microcontrollers that talk to each other, and they kind of vote on the direction” says Halley Profita, the University of Colorado PhD student behind the dress [...]

  9. [...] “The network of microphones [listens] for sounds in the environment, they are connected with microcontrollers that talk to each other, and they kind of vote on the direction,” says Halley Profita, the University of Colorado PhD student behind the dress. [...]

  10. [...] “The network of microphones [listens] for sounds in the environment, they are connected with microcontrollers that talk to each other, and they kind of vote on the direction,” says Halley Profita, the University of Colorado PhD student behind the dress. [...]

  11. Elliott says:

    washable?

  12. Elliott 熊 says:

    …available in different colors?

    Visual compliments may assist if LEDs placed so as to be detectable in peripheral vision inside the arms of a pair of glasses were to light up when very loud, potentially dangerous sounds are detected. You could place a row of them inside the arms of the glasses, beginning right at the edge of the peripheral detection angle, and then have them light up further toward the center of the FOV of the wearer as he or she turned their head toward the source of the noise.

    that way the wearer could distinguish between sounds which really do foretell of oncoming danger and other sounds which simply indicate people talking at high volume etc. If additional safety is one of the selling points of the equipment, some sort of accompanying visual clue would be important as, the wearer might just learn to ignore the sensations at will, if at first he or she turned toward every sensation experienced, only to find nothing there.

    I’d even go a step further and integrate cameras into the equipment, which would in turn activate a Google glass display in Google glasses, showing the wearer the view from various angles when loud, potentially dangerous sounds triggered the flutter devices.

  13. Elliott 熊 says:

    …If you really wanted to create the Jackie Chan of the hearing impaired, you’d go further still with the glasses and have the inside of them packed with a retinal display which continued to light up until the wearer faced the source of the noise. Then the light would blip a few times and vanish, indicating that the wearer had correctly turned to face the source of the disturbance.

    Optionally the light could blip (become larger and smaller in diametre) according to the wave detected by the microphones. If this were the case, the wearer would have a more than slim chance of learning to ‘recognise’ the patterns of various sound waves. Swipe actions, familiar to those acquainted with Google glasses would then be used to dismiss the blipping light once acknowledged by the wearer.

    Now you’ve really created a soldier!

  14. [...] “The network of microphones [listens] for sounds in the environment, they are connected with microcontrollers that talk to each other, and they kind of vote on the direction,” says Halley Profita, the University of Colorado PhD student behind the dress. [...]

  15. [...] “The network of microphones [listens] for sounds in the environment, they are connected with microcontrollers that talk to each other, and they kind of vote on the direction,” says Halley Profita, the University of Colorado PhD student behind the dress. [...]

  16. Matt says:

    Video please!

  17. [...] “The network of microphones [listens] for sounds in the environment, they are connected with microcontrollers that talk to each other, and they kind of vote on the direction,” says Halley Profita, the University of Colorado PhD student behind the dress. [...]

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