PERI helps deaf people navigate safely

Singapore's James Dyson Award winner will help make getting around a little less scary for the deaf

For those without hearing issues, it's easy to take for granted how important sound is when moving around. For the deaf, missing those aural cues can make commuting a daunting experience. This year, Singapore's James Dyson Award went to an enterprising Singaporean bent on helping the deaf navigate better.

Safety in the sound-less

According to the World Health Organisation, around 5 per cent of the world population (360 million) have disabling hearing loss. This can mean they miss out important audio cue, giving them a lack of spatial awareness - for instance, not being able to hear the honk of vehicles when crossing a busy road.

PERI is an attachment that can be strapped to spectacles that will help the deaf visualise sound by using flashing light cues, via flashing RGB LEDs that will blink in patterns according to the sound. It was developed by a group of engineering students from the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) and is still undergoing refinement to better customise the light patterns.

One of the judges for the award the PERI team received, Dr Her-Mann Tsai, said the students' invention had a high potential for use in real-life.

The James Dyson Award is open to university students and recent graduates, with national winners chosen from each participating country who will then participate in a final selection where the winner will be chosen by James Dyson. The PERI team as national winners won £2000 for their effort.