MobileLorm – Advanced Wearable Communications Device for the Deaf/Blind

Mobile LORM

Communication is often difficult for the deaf,  and even harder for the deaf and blind. Unfortunately, most technology is difficult to use for the deaf and blind, and mostly because they are far outnumbered by those of us without impairments. Unfortunately, there are still millions of people with hearing and sight problems. In fact, some 13% of the United States population alone has speech, hearing, or seeing problem, or a combination of two or three of those impairments. The MobileLorm is a device intended to allow the deaf/blind to communicate without the issues that they most often face.

Mobile LORM

What is Lorm?

For anyone not familiar with Lorm, it is an alphabet designed to be used by those who are deaf and blind. Lorm uses a system of hand movements to communicate. For example, touching two fingers in a specific pattern is a letter, and touching fingers to the palm in a specific way can also be a letter. The method allows those who cannot learn traditional writing to communicate with anyone who has the time and patience to learn Lorm. In essence, it uses the hand as a sort of non-digital keyboard to spell out letters so that one person can spell out letters against


What is the MobileLorm?

The MobileLorm is a glove that can be worn by anyone who knows Lorm, and then used to type in Lorm. The glove connects via Bluetooth to a phone to translate the Lorm into a traditional alphabet. This would allow the person wearing the Lorm to send traditional texts, to send emails, and even post on social to be understood by anyone.

When messages are received, the glove vibrates and translates the message to the person wearing the glove. Messages are translated through a series of vibrations from the  top of the glove, which can be interpreted by the wearer, thus allowing them to quickly and easily check the message and respond. This same technology is also being moved into other concepts such as readign eBooks and other media.

The glove uses textile pressure sensors to detect whenever someone makes a movement, and then translates that movement into the corresponding Lorm letter. For someone skilled at Lorm, the process could be faster than actual typing which is an advantage rather than the disadvantage that most communication technology today offers.


What’s So Special About It?

The MobileLorm is a huge step forward in technology because it allows the mute and blind to communicate to more people than they have ever before been able to. While there are currently braille phones and online braille translators for anyone who can find them, the blind are largely ostracized  from social networks and social technology including texting. The MobileLorm makes these communication options a possibility by making sending and receiving texts or messages easier. And while marketed as a social device, the MobileLorm could be used for communicating with a boss who does not know sign language, for talking to new people, for teaching, and even for writing a book or paper in ‘standard’ writing.

The Lorm glove is part of a much larger research plan to provide tools and technology for those who are impaired at the Berlin University of Arts. Currently concepts mostly include technologies based on gesture based technology, including the MobileLorm.  While there are other ideas, this one definitely is a very good one.

So where do you get it? The Mobile Lorm is currently mostly only available to test subjects in Berlin. If you happen to be willing to work with them, you might just be able to get one.