Personal Alerts: The Tactile Acoustic Monitor and Ref for the Deaf

(Contributed by: Matt N., and Amanda M.)

Technology: The Tactile Acoustic Monitor (T.A.M.) is a pocket processor and wrist component that is intended to alert a deaf individual to unusual noises in their immediate environment.

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Inventor: Summit Deaf Aids is a British company whose main purpose is the adaptation and development of accessible safety equipment to the Deaf community. The company’s primary focus is smoke detection technologies, however they have been successful in the sale of other assistive devices. [1]

How does it work: The T.A.M. is a composed of a processing pack, a wrist component, and a lead to connect the two. The processing pack contains a microphone that receives sound input from the environment and compares the volume, in decibels, to the set point established by the user. If an environmental sound input exceeds threshold, then the processing pack will send a signal through the lead to the wrist component, which will vibrate.[1] The set point is adjustable so the user can customize the device to pick up on unusual sounds, such as the telephone, fire detector, or doorbell. Many deaf individuals prefer to wear the wrist component on their waistband since the wire lead is cumbersome to leave on the wrist.[3]

Impact on the Deaf Community: This device has the potential to be a useful domestic technology with the ability to increase accessibility to the environment. Many Deaf individuals, however, prefer a more holistic home signaling system, such as the Alertmaster, which includes specialized alerts for phones, doorbells, alarm clocks, baby monitor, and general noises.[3] Despite the hesitation, there are clear advantages of the T.A.M. for use of the deaf/blind outside the home.

[1] Summit Deaf Aids. (n.d.). Retrieved November 25, 2014, from         http://www.summitdeafaids.co.uk/index.php

[2] Tactile Acoustic Montior. (n.d.). Retrieved November 25, 2014, from http://www.dlf-data.org.uk/product.php?product_id=0113100&groupid=1440

[3] Tam tactile acoustic monitor. (n.d.). Retrieved December 3, 2014, from http://www.alldeaf.com/showthread.php?t=100362

Technology: Ref for the Deaf

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What: The product is a bracelet-whistle system that wirelessly notifies the player of a stoppage of play through vibrations in the wristband.

Who: Celia Beron and her father Kurt Beron developed the idea and patented it[1]. Celia came up with the idea after playing soccer with deaf players and identifying the problem[2].

How: Celia won the Richardson ISD Invention Convection competition for kid inventors, and then was awarded a patent from Baker Botts when she was a fourth grader. Her father, who works for University of Texas at Dallas entered the idea into the Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship Business Competition and won a $10,000 grant. Together, they founded Pungo which focuses on devices to alert the hearing impaired to the sounds around them. [2]

How does it work: The whistle has a sensor built into it, which transmits a signal to the receiver worn on the hip of the referee. The receiver communicates to the deaf player by wirelessly transmitting a signal to the wristband, which creates a vibration. [1]

Impact on the Deaf Community: This device can aid deaf athletes by notifying them of a signal that the players around them already have access to. This device enables deaf access to information during the run of play in a game.

[1]Beron, Celia C., and Kurt J. Beron. System and Method for Alerting Sports Participants Who Cannot Detect Audible Signals. Celia Beron, assignee. Patent US 7173533 B1. 27 Aug. 2004. Print.

[2]“A Sound Invention.” AdvocateMag. Advocate, July 2011. Web. 02 Dec. 2014. <http://www.virtualonlineeditions.com/publication/?i=73292&p=16&gt;.

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