National Media Relations
New study demonstrates silent, eyes-free text entry
Study participants tapped Morse Code into Google Glass after four hours.
It’s not exactly beating something into someone’s head. More like tapping it into the side.
Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology have developed a system that teaches people Morse code within four hours using a series of vibrations felt near the ear. Participants wearing Google Glass learned it without paying attention to the signals —they played games while feeling the taps and hearing the corresponding letters. After those few hours, they were 94 percent accurate keying a sentence that included every letter of the alphabet and 98 percent accurate writing codes for every letter.
This is the latest chapter of passive haptic learning (PHL) studies at Georgia Tech. The same method — using vibrations while participants aren’t paying attention — has taught people braille, how to play the piano and improved hand sensation for those with partial spinal cord injury.
The PHL projects are all led by Georgia Tech Professor Thad Starner and his Ph.D. student Caitlyn Seim. The team decided to use Glass for this study because it has both a built-in speaker and tapper (Glass’s bone-conduction transducer).
In the study, participants played a game while feeling vibration taps between their temple and ear. The taps represented the dots and dashes of Morse code and passively “taught” users through their tactile senses — even while they were distracted by the game.
The taps were created when researchers sent a very low-frequency signal to Glass’s speaker system. At less than 15 Hz, the signal was below hearing range but, because it was played very slowly, the sound was felt as a vibration. …READ MORE
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