Wearable Tech that Helps the Deaf Stay Socially and Spatially Aware

Hearo

Summary
Hearo uses directional vibrations to alert hearing-impaired users in relevant situations, such as people calling their name, a phone ringing, or vehicles driving by.
Type
Product
Role
  • Product Design
  • UX / UI
  • Prototyping
  • Electronics
  • Branding
Year
2018

Time

3.5 Weeks

Awards

UK Design Council Semi-Finalist

Contributors

Haptic feedback for people with hearing loss

Hearo vibrates in the direction of the sound source, with different vibration patterns corresponding to different alert types:

Creating a stigma-free brand

There is often stigma for hearing loss because it is associated with old age and deteriorating health. Patients commonly request hearing aids that are discreet. Hearo aims to quell the stigma of hearing loss by creating an aesthetic that represents modernity, technology, and playfulness.

Both the ear and neck were explored as potential locations for directional sound input and haptic feedback. Both can work with existing hearing aids. Additionally, the ear clips could be a new kind of hearing aids that also provides haptic feedback.

Renderings for academic purposes only

Prototypes

Several "looks like"prototypes was created by 3d-printing a CAD models of the the necklace and ear clips. A "works-like" prototype was prototyped using the following electronics, Raspberry Pi, Arduino, and ReSpeaker multi-directional microphone sensor.

"Looks-like" prototype
"Works like" prototype

Customization with the Hearo Mobile App

Research & Development  

Having lived with a father who has lost his hearing because of cochlear malfunction, I’ve already had a lot of insights to his daily challenges.  As part of my research, I also interviewed:

Making of Hearo