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Facts about blindness and deaf-blindness

Deaf-blind people have a severe degree of combined visual and auditory impairments resulting in limited communication, lack of access to information, and mobility issues.

People who are both deaf and blind live in a unique condition of isolation as touch is the only sense they can use to interact with the world.

Although there are only 1.5 million people in the world who are completely deaf-blind, different degrees of blindness and deafness affect 150 million people worldwide. Three times the population of the United Kingdom.

Many deaf-blind people have some residual vision or hearing. However, their sensory disability often comes in association with other impairments or disorders.


Why dbGLOVE?

Achieving social inclusion

Managing to acquire complete independence in communicating with others and in interacting with the world is the most difficult and important task for the deaf-blind.

The importance of learning to write

For individuals who are blind or deaf-blind born, learning to read and write really makes the difference, as it gives them 90% more chances of getting a job.

More than text-to-speech

As for the sighted, reading is a completely different experience than listening. In addition, speech synthesis is not suitable for the deaf-blind.


Communication using touch-based alphabets

The majority of blind and deaf-blind people already use touch-based alphabets, such as Malossi and Braille, to communicate with others.

However, they require long training, and they cannot be utilized in case of cognitive impairments. These, in turn, are very frequent (10% of the target population).

Moreover, two individuals have to be at touch distance in order to communicate, and both must know the language.

This is the reason why blind and deaf-blind people often need to pay 900€-3000€/month for an assistant who plays the role of an interpreter. As a result, the total (worldwide) cost related to assistance and training is 36.4bln€/year.


dbGLOVE in action

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 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.
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