Innovative AR Glasses Allows Deaf People ‘To See’ Conversations Around Them

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A innovative set of spectacles allows deaf and hard-of-hearing persons to add subtitles to regular discussions. The XRAI Glass eyewear collects audio from the built-in microphone and transforms it to text that is projected on the wearer’s lenses, allowing them to read conversations in real time.

The XRAI Glass startup worked with Nreal, an augmented reality developer, to harness the power of their existing AR glasses and employ translation software that can be downloaded onto any smartphone.

“We are extremely proud of the power this new technology has to enrich the lives of those who are deaf and have hearing loss, so that they can maximum potential,” XRAI Glass CEO Dan Scarfe said of the unveiling of this groundbreaking product. Whether it’s having a chat while cooking dinner or keeping a conversation going while walking with a friend. The scope of the possibility is enormous.”

Scarfe got the inspiration for the glasses after watching his grandfather struggle to keep up with conversations at family gatherings. “There was just a little epiphany moment where I thought, ‘Hang on a second. He watches TV all the time with subtitles. Why can’t we subtitle the world?’”

The idea is already receiving rave reviews from deaf and hard of hearing advocacy groups. “This is a great example of the positive difference innovative technology can make for people who are deaf or have hearing loss,” says Mark Atkinson, CEO of RNID, a British hearing loss charity.

“At RNID we are excited about the potential for technology to transform the lives of our communities. 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. We support and applaud this endeavor and are keen to play our part in connecting innovators with our diverse communities.”

 

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Deaf woman uses XRAI Glass to have a conversation with her friend without taking her eyes off the food she’s preparing.

 

Steve Crump, the founder and chair of DeafKidz International, personally attests to the viability of XRAI Glass. “As a profoundly deaf person myself, I was blown away by this technology. When I tried on the glasses, I was astonished – real-time subtitles that enable you to engage and participate as never before. I see XRAI Glass as a hugely positive force, and I can’t wait to work with the team to help bring this to life.”

He adds: “To me, this technology enables me to be involved. It empowers…me to be in the conversation in the moment. I’m getting a real-time stream of subtitled information where ordinarily I might be behind. I might not quite catch everything, but this is giving me a real-time narrative which … enables me to make decisions because I know what is being said.”

The product will first be available solely in the United Kingdom, where more than 12 million adults suffer from deafness or hearing loss. If the glasses and app are successful, it is projected that more than 5% of the world’s population, or 430 million individuals, suffer from disabling hearing loss, with 70 million suffering from full-blown deafness. XRAI Glass is actively developing software that can translate every language.

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