dbGLOVE is a wearable device that digitizes several existing touch-based alphabets, such as Malossi and Braille, to enable blind and deaf-blind people to use all the features of a mobile device, to communicate with others, and to interact with the world.
Users simply type messages on dbGLOVE using the other hand.
Messages can be displayed on the screen to the normally sighted, they can be translated into speech, or they can transmitted over the Internet.
Replies are sent to dbGLOVE, which translates them into vibrations that simulate touch cues representing letters over the hand, allowing the user to read the message.
dbGLOVE is the result of a ten-year research work in Human-Computer Interaction.
dbGLOVE has been co-designed with end users, who participated to the development from the beginning and contributed to improving usability. Also, assistants and experts have been involved in the design, to ensure the best acceptability.
Six major product iterations, plus minor adjustments, led to the development of a comfortable and robust device.
In addition to three standard sizes (small, medium and large), the shape and size of dbGLOVE pads can be customized for specific needs.
Studies demonstrated that dbGLOVE outperforms Braille displays in several scenarios.
This is especially true in learning the language: it requires only from 5 to 30 minutes, compared to Braille, which usually has a longer learning curve.
Also, dbGLOVE is twice as accurate and fast as Braille displays.
dbGLOVE can be employed as a learning tool for blind or deaf-blind born children, or for people who become blind or deaf-blind later in their life.
Early results show that dbGLOVE is suitable for addressing learning disorders and for supporting functional communication.
dbGLOVE is compatible with Braille. Specific dbGLOVE pads also support the Braille alphabet, and they can be utilized as a learning tool for practicing or improving Braille proficiency.
Indeed, Braille is an important literacy tool for people who are blind or have low vision. Specifically, Braille is the only means by which people unable to read print can be functionally literate, helping them to live full and productive lives.
Moreover, Braille is an important literacy tool that increases work opportunities: research indicates that of those blind people in fulltime employment, 80 per cent read Braille.