Development and Evaluation of a Tactilator System
Tactiling is the name given to a method of tactually supplementing speechreading. According to this method a deaf speechreader places his hand on a talker's shoulder with his fingers lightly against the neck; thus, the talker will obtain clues relating to voicing and dynamic speech intensity. The method was invented by a postlingually deaf Swedish male and has been studied since 1986 by several investigators including one of the applicants for this grant (Plant and Spens 1986). The original user's performance is outstanding, and the method has found to be effective on 24 postlingually deaf subjects even without training (Ohngren 1992). The Tactilator , an experimental device, has been built (Ohngren 1992). This device allows an individual to obtain similar information without coming into direct physical contact with the talker; the direct hand-neck contact is replaced with a contact microphone, an appropriate amplifying system and a bone receiver which is hand-held by the deaf speechreader. The purpose is to refine this experimental design; we will replace the contact microphone with a more convenient noise canceling microphone plus suitable processing circuits. We will also study the technique's utility, both as an inexpensive aid-to speechreading and as an adjunct to other tactual and implant methods. We will develop an inexpensive prototype based on an existing product, to design and implement effective evaluation methods, and to begin studies of performance using several variations of the Tactiling method.
Small Business Information at Submission:
Principal Investigator:David Franklin
35 Medford Street Somerville, MA 02143
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