How do they work?
The PHL Gloves use small vibrate motors to stimulate each finger and enable Passive Haptic Learning.
Passive Haptic Learning (PHL) allows people to learn "muscle memory" skills without paying attention to learning.
Users of the PHL Gloves can wear the gloves while doing other activities like driving, playing video games, even doing work or taking a test. After a short period of learning (~30 minutes), you can take off the PHL Gloves and use your new skill.
What's the Big News?
Here's the Problem:
Less than 10% of Blind individuals can read Braille. The National Federation of the Blind (NFB) calls this the "Braille Literacy Crisis."
Why is this a crisis? Because Braille = reading for these individuals and research shows that knowing Braille:
How did this happen? Literature about the crisis indicates that the main causes are:
Can Technology help solve this problem?
This is where the PHL Gloves come in. With the goal of addressing the Braille Literacy Crisis, we created and built the PHL Gloves for Braille.
We designed a user-conscious, mobile system to passively help teach Braille - anywhere and anytime. Initially, we aimed to teach just Braille typing, but we are able to teach reading as well.
As Wearable Computing researchers, we studied the effectiveness of the Gloves and found statistically significant benefits provided by using the PHL Gloves to learn Braille. In fact, we expanded initial research and built a system to teach the entire Braille alphabet in four hours.
For details, see our latest research paper to be presented at the International Symposium on Wearable Computing (ISWC) on September 17, 2014.
What else can the Gloves help teach me?