Fujitsu Develops Device to Convert Sound to Vibrations, Light

Economy

Tokyo, June 11 (Jiji Press)--Japanese electronics giant Fujitsu Ltd. <6702> said Tuesday that it will release in July a wearable device for the deaf that converts sound into vibrations and light.

Jointly developed with people with hearing impairments, the gadget is slightly smaller than a cigarette lighter and can be worn like a hair clip, on an earlobe or on a shirt collar, for instance. It emits 256 different combinations of vibrations and light to represent the sounds it picks up.

The device is named "Ontenna," a portmanteau of the words "on," one way of reading the kanji character for sound, and antenna.

Fujitsu plans to distribute the device for free to 30 schools for the deaf nationwide. The company hopes it will be used for children to learn such things as musical rhythm, which can be difficult to grasp for someone with a hearing disability.

Fujitsu will consider in the future adding a feature on the device to notify mothers with hearing impairments when their babies are crying. This is expected to be done by the use of artificial intelligence to distinguish specific sounds, such as that of crying.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press