If you have read “The hitchhikers guide to the galaxy” there’s a small fish that translates every language into the language the person that has the fish in his/hers ear is speaking…
The BabelFisk Product is as simple as possible – it covers the basic need for hearing impaired, to be able to “hear” what people around them are saying, even though they are not easy to lip-read or are looking in the wrong direction. It sort of gives the hearing impaired a super sense – to see what people are saying.
The BabelFisk works by converting the sound (speech is filtered using algorithms created for regular hearing aids) to text on the fly – much like the way a program like Dragon Dictation works. By using embedded controllers, this process heavy task is easily manageable. Given that the product has 2 microphones built in, it also addresses the issue of where the sound is coming from, helping the wearer to adapt in a 3D environment that sound creates. Also the product could be great to use for dictation at meetings etc – saving files on flash memory in both audio and text format for easy retrieval after meeting, downloadable via mini-USB.

 

The project is featured in the danish magazine “Teknikeren” in the october issue 2011.

Danish:

Uddrag fra “Teknikeren”.

I bogen ’A hitchhikers guide to the Galaxy’ er der en lille bitte fisk, som kravler ind i hovedpersonens øre og gør alle sprog forståelige. En babelfisk, hedder den.
De runde, retroinspirerede briller hedder også Babelfisk. De er netop inspireret af tankegangen om, at man kan oversætte sprog – på en ny måde.
For det er ikke en almindelig brille, der bare gør ting større eller mindre. Brillerne opfanger tale, som bliver omdannet tekst, som igen bliver reflekteret op på indersiden af glasset, så brugeren kan læse, hvad andre siger.
” Det handler om at give hørehæmmede et langt bedre overblik over, hvad samtalen går ud på, frem for hvis de kun mundaflæser,” siger Mads Hindhede Svanegaard.
Babelfisk fungerer sådan, at de to små mikrofoner opfanger lydene. Herfra bliver støjen filtreret fra.
”Der vil være en forskel i tid på, hvornår lyden rammer den ene eller den anden højttaler, og netop derfor kan man filtrere lyden og bestemme, hvilken retning, den kommer fra. Det bruger man også i høreapparater,” forklarer Mads Hindhede Svanegaard.
Udover at lyden skal filtreres, skal den også konverteres fra tale til tekst ved hjælp af en særlig embedded controller med talekonverteringssoftware. 
Til sidst overfører en chip teksten til videosignaler, mens to mikroprojektorer viser teksten på indersiden af brilleglasset, der består af to lag. 
”Det ekstra lag gør, at det kun er dig, der kan se teksten,” fortæller designeren, som tidligere har arbejdet for firmaet Oticon, der producerer høreapparater.

4 Comments

  1. Gautam Begani
    November 11, 2011

    How can I buy these ? I need it for my brother who is hearing impaired.
    Thannks
    Gautam

    • msvanegaard
      November 11, 2011

      Hi Gautam, I am sorry to say that it is only a concept – and there is no hope for it to be developed at any time soon… At least not in this form or by any company I know.

  2. Sascha Hahn
    November 15, 2011

    Hey,
    im also looking for a device for speech to text like babel Fish. Since im hearing impared it would be a great help. My usual Hearing aids like CI etc. arent much of a help. Also i think such a device would be a great help at work. So is there any chance for it???

    • msvanegaard
      November 15, 2011

      Hi Sascha – I truly hope that this kind of hearing aid will be or are being developed already, but I really do not know. All I know is that some large companies like Siemens already have patents on parts of this system, and therefore it is not possible for me to develop this product without their help…