VisAural: A Tool for Converting Audible Signals into Visual Cues


Benjamin M. Gorman, David R. Flatla

Assistive Augmentation 2014, CHI 2014, Toronto, Canada

Abstract

Although our senses of hearing, smell, and vision allow us to sense things at a distance, the detection of many day-to-day events relies exclusively on our sense of hearing. For example, finding a ringing phone lost in a sofa, hearing a child cry in an- other room, locating a dripping tap, and using our car alarm to pinpoint the location of our vehicle in a car park are all initiated by audible signals. However, individuals with total or partial hearing loss have difficulty detecting the audible signals that the rest of the population relies on in these situations. To address this, we are developing VisAural, a system that converts audible signals into visual cues. Using an array of head-mounted microphones, VisAural detects the direction of a sound, and uses visually-peripheral LEDs to guide the user to the source of the sound.