Gloves with Haptic Feedback can Teach Braille
Learning languages can be very difficult, which is why we see so many techniques and technologies developed to assist people. Braille too can be hard to learn, but researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology have put technology enhanced gloves to work to help teach it.
The gloves have small motors sewn into the knuckles and were first created years ago, to teach people how to play piano. To teach people Braille, the researchers had the study participants type out a phrase in Braille, after the sequence of letters was played out by the gloves, with audio cues indicating the letters being typed. Next the participants were asked to play a game for thirty minutes and to ignore the gloves. The audio cues played for everyone, but only half of the participants received the vibrations while playing. After completing the game, the participants were asked to type out the phrase again and those without the vibrations during the game failed to improve, while the other half improved by a third. Some of the participants in the experimental group were even perfect the second time. None had any experience with Braille or Braille keyboards prior to the study.
All of this was accomplished using passive haptic learning, which takes advantage of the observation that vibrations can be used to teach people motor skills, without them having to be attentive to their hands. This discovery could have many implications, especially as many Braille is often neglected in schools, leading to only a tenth of the 40 million blind people in the world, to know the language.
Source: Georgia Institute of Technology