Tactile Bracelet Gives Stylish Alerts for Deaf Fashionistas

Helping the disabled live more independent lives is a rather widespread goal involving scientists, doctors and researchers. But what role do designers play? May Wilson, a designer based in Edinburgh, might have created a device that will help deaf people interact with their surroundings more easily. The device, called Aria, is an alert system that a hearing-impaired person wears on their wrist. It relays various alert sounds to the wearer with tactile sensations on the skin, along with an identifying light.

The Aria is able to identify six different sounds in and around the home: telephone, doorbell, smoke alarm, baby monitor, alarm clock, and emergency vehicle sirens. When the device senses one of these sounds, it activates little rubber feelers that tickle the wearer’s wrist. This alerts the wearer to look at the Aria to discover which event is taking place. One of the six distinct shapes will be lit to direct the wearer to the appropriate item.

It’s easy to see how the Aria could be a useful addition to a hearing-impaired person’s life. There are currently other alerting devices available, but (to our knowledge) none that feature several different alerts or that can be worn like a fashion accessory. The device is not only useful and potentially life-saving; it’s also pretty darned attractive.

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See more in Unbuilt Concepts or under Technology. April, 2010.