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New technologies

This page features information about innovative assistive technologies that support people to engage with the arts as artists, audience members, readers and writers, and museum and gallery visitors.

Auckland lab create innovative device for Deaf people

Inspired by Deaf multi-percussionist Dame Evelyn Glennie, Associate Professor Suranga Nanayakkara and his team at the Augmented Human Lab in the Auckland Bioengineering Institute have created an innovative device. MuSS-Bits (music sensory substitution bits) started out as a technology for Deaf people who want to play music and join in a jamming session with other musicians. It has two parts: a sensor that captures sound from a surface or digital device, and a module that lights up and vibrates with the rhythm so the sound is physically felt in real time.“You can wear it as a smartwatch, put it in your pocket or wear it on your leg,” Suranga Nanayakkara says.

Other assistive-technology projects include the Finger Reader, which allows visually impaired people to read text through a device they wear on their fingers. And Nanayakkara is exploring the scope of artificial intelligence to help with mental-health treatments. Read the Listener article

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