Red light green light
Wednesday February 25th 2015, 10:42 pm
Filed under: Life

I went to a lecture once years ago by a Stanford professor who, with his grad students, had designed an aid to hearing aids: it was a kind of horseshoe-ish necklace with six microphones set in it, using the wearer’s own chest to help screen out background noise while relaying sounds up to the hearing aids. That which is straight ahead of you you can hear.

He tested it out on a woman with profound hearing loss on a very busy street. They faced each other and he spoke with that tremendous amount of low-pitched background noise going on right there, the very worst for wiping out the highest frequencies where the consonants of speech reside–and she heard every word clearly.

He said that when he told her it was a prototype only and that she had to give it back she burst into tears. She was desperate to own it. I can well imagine.

He then searched for a manufacturer willing to pick up on the idea but last I heard several years after, none had. He was custom-making them one by one at six grand apiece as any request came in.

At the time, six grand just staggered or I’d have asked for one, too, and we certainly debated the idea and the cost and wished. Only, my hearing aids didn’t even have the telephone coil that his setup needed in the first place, so there would have been replacing them, too, although, I have since. I don’t have t-coil now, either, I have blu-tooth going to a device connecting my phone and my $8888-a-pair aids and having not thought about him in awhile until today, am suddenly wondering if he’s still making them and if he’s updated his technology… (But can we come up with the funds. Same thought, just like the old thought.)

All this by way of mentioning an article I stumbled across about a company that was making special glasses for doctors to use during surgery and a friend of one such doctor thought they looked cool, could he try them on?

The right person in the right place at the right time asking the right nonchalant even almost flippant question, having no idea.

It apparently had not occurred to the company that they had created a solution for red/green colorblind problems, but suddenly they had a huge potential market and they are running with it.

Just in case you know someone this applies to. And whatever they’ll cost, let me tell you, it just can’t be all that much.

3 Comments so far
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Thanks for the link. Hope they help my nephew driving.

Comment by LynnM 02.26.15 @ 1:21 am

Wow! Thanks for sharing those miracles of modern technology. I poked around on the internet and found another blogger writing about her dad using the “hearing aid necklace.”

And I’ve shared the links to the color-blind sunglasses with 2 friends. One is a quilter and will be checking into them for herself. Her perception of green is quite drab, no matter what the shade. And she shared it with her brother, who has more color-blindness. And the other friend shared it with both of her color-blind sons. Pebble in the pond ripples!

Comment by DebbieR 02.26.15 @ 12:23 pm

Loved reading that blog post — almost 5 years ago. Wonder if by now the developer has a design that might be more ummm decorative, shall we say. Somehow I just have the feeling that you have enough friends out here that we could crowdfund at least a portion of the cost for you to have a necklace. And feel privileged to be able to do that. If you wouldn’t mind our doing that, I mean. I know nothing about setting that up, but someone here must.

Comment by Susan (sjanova) 02.26.15 @ 3:50 pm

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