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.