These Smart Glasses Assist Deaf People Through Subtitled Conversations

IMG SOURCE: XRAI Glass website

These smart glasses by British company XRAI Glass are paving the way for a more comfortable and more natural flow of communication for the deaf and hearing-impaired.

Through the augmented reality smart glasses, users are able to literally see conversations as real time captions are projected.

In his interview with Fox 32 Chicago, XRAI Glass CEO Dan Scarfe explained how the technology works.

“So effectively we’re taking that audio stream from the microphone on the glasses. We’re running it through a piece of transcription software which users have probably seen before, the ability to turn audio into sub captions. What we’re doing though is then taking those captions and putting them into augmented reality.”

The innovation can help maximize its users’ potential while allowing them “to have a conversation while continuing to make dinner or keeping a conversation while walking with a friend,” Scarfe also said.

Josh Feldman, who has profound hearing loss, tests the XRAI Glass and said “The impact of being able to not rely on looking at someone’s lips and being able to talk to them is clearly something which could be life changing.” | Image Credits: XRAI Glass via Daily Mail

One of its first users, Diana, who relies on sign language and lip reading was amazed by the new way of seeing what a person is saying.

Another user, Hannah Brady, who has 60 per cent hearing loss in both ears, was able to converse with Amazon’s Alexa and see Alexa’s response about the weather forecast, while simultaneously chopping limes in the kitchen. She added: “What’s brilliant about it is it’s not getting in the way of what I’m trying to see either.”

XRAI states that the company was created to connect people through technology and wants to be known as a lifestyle brand instead of a healthcare brand, treating its market “as a group of individuals with unique needs and unique lives.”

They have partnered with Nreal for the development of the hardware, and are still developing their software to accommodate their users’ feedback. As of now, the glasses can recognize who is speaking (allowing users to read through conversations like in a group chat), and will soon be able to translate languages, detect voice tones, accents and pitch.

Image Credit: XRAI Glass via Daily Mail

Mark Atkinson, CEO of the Royal National Institute for Deaf People said that “XRAI glass is intuitive and simple to use and could be a powerful tool in ensuring people with hearing loss don’t feel excluded in social settings.”

XRAI’s smart glasses are currently sold for around £400 (around PHP27,000).

Based on articles published by Daily Mail and Fox 32 Chicago

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