New app helps deafblind people communicate

Good Vibes uses Morse code and vibration, and is now available on Google Play.

Press Association
Last updated: 13 April 2018 - 9.55am

A marketing company has launched a mobile app which enables two-way communication between deafblind people.

Cheil India created the Good Vibes app, which works by using the vibration capability of a smartphone combined with Morse Code to “represent the alphabet in a binary fashion”.

[Read more: £20 hearing aid vibrates to warn hearing impaired users of loud sounds] 

The developers say the app goes one step further than other methods of deafblind communication such as Braille and pro-tactile sign language, which depends on physical contact.

Users can tap a smartphone screen in varying ways to activate different Morse code symbols. For example, a “short tap” translates as the Morse code “dot” while a “long tap” on the app is translated as a “dash”.

The app uses haptic feedback and does not have a visible user interface. Developers say this is the “first time in history” that an effective tool has been created for two-way communication between those who are visually and hearing impaired.

The gestures and taps create letters and words which are transmitted as vibrations to be deciphered by any trained deafblind person.

Good Vibes was developed with charity Sense International and aims to “spread positivity in the lives of the deafblind”.

Vijay Simha, executive creative director of the app, said: “After interacting with the deafblind and their caregivers, we knew we had our task cut out. We had to design a user experience that replicates ‘touch & feel’ – the only form of two-way communication used by the deafblind.

“With the Good Vibes app, we dug deep and explored a whole new dimension of app design: one that works for those who can’t see or hear. The result is ‘the invisible UI’ – probably the first of its kind. And it works like magic.”

It can be downloaded for free on Google Play.

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