Glasses For The Hearing Impaired?

If you don’t have hearing loss, it is easy to forget just how much you depend on your ears. Hearing aids are great if you can afford them, but they aren’t like glasses where they immediately improve your sense in almost every way. In addition to having to get used to a hearing aid you’ll often find increased noise and even feedback. If you’ve been to a theater lately, you may have noticed a closed caption display system somewhere nearby that you can sit within visual range of should you be hard of hearing. That limits your seat choices though, and requires you to split your attention between the stage and the device. The National Theatre of London is using Epson smart glasses to put the captions right in your individual line of vision (see video below).

The Epson glasses are similar to the Google Glass that caused such a stir a few years ago, and it seems like such a great application we are surprised it has taken this long to be created. We were also surprised to hear about the length of the project, amazingly it took four years. The Epson glasses can take HDMI or USB-C inputs, so it seems as though a Raspberry Pi, a battery, and the glasses could have made this a weekend project.

Augmented reality has been one of those technologies that ought to be great, but the “killer application” for it doesn’t seem to be out there yet. However, if you are hard of hearing, this could certainly be it. It makes us wonder what other things could be done with headgear like this. Speech to text is getting better every day, so maybe glasses that caption real life? We could even see just showing a red bar to indicate the direction of loud sounds might be a handy thing to have.

Of course, you don’t need smart glasses just to get an alert for a loud noise. We’ve even seen Alexa learn ASL.

10 thoughts on “Glasses For The Hearing Impaired?

  1. Yeah the voice software engine could’ve most useful. I like the idea of using these types of augmented reality glasses eg for use in ground penetrating radar or even dumb metal detectors where some processing can detect changes in dielectric strength such as ground mineralisation vs high organic content etc…

  2. Well over half of every movie theatre now has AR-style Sony caption glasses and has had them for years, so the only way this is ‘new’ is the application to a theatre setting. And AI driven real time caption glasses sound great but pose a lot of technical difficulties above and beyond just speech recognition.

  3. If you watch the video, you can see why it wasn’t a weekend project. They didn’t just make the glasses, they had to integrate staging, voice recognition, lighting cues, etc. so the show doesn’t need to have already been captioned.

  4. I wonder if the same thing would happen with this that happened with all of us from the home phone era. We had EVERYONE’S number memorized. Now with Cell phones, i know 2 numbers. What if this causes a general ignorance factor down the line? Could have a negative impact. Just a thought.

    1. Eh, speak for yourself we had a sheet of neatly hand printed names and numbers for regular contacts under the phone and a cork board for hastily scrawled new and rarely used numbers beside it. Yes it was a wall mount corded rotary phone but the only numbers I knew were the ones I memorized from sheer repetition. I didn’t NEED to memorize every phone number because I didn’t use (dialing out) a phone anywhere but from home.
      https://xkcd.com/1227/
      Look we are THAT age, we need to start self monitoring if we are “Back in my day…”-ing when we don’t mean to.

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