The purpose of this project was to develop a portable and customizable device that encouraged communication through affordable technologies. The device was designed to fill a well-defined need for affordable technologies that enhance multifaceted therapeutic and assistive healthcare services. The device was created to operate without sound which increases the accessibility of assistive and rehabilitative technologies, specifically for deaf, hearing impaired, and sound-averse individuals, including many on the Autism spectrum. In the design process, we focused on the development of the devices fabric housing and touch areas utilizing smart textiles and conductive thread. Smart textiles, such as touch capacitive fabrics, are fabrics woven with materials that alter an electrical signal in a measurable way if the textile is touched, stretched, etc. For this particular communication device, the user touches a specific button made of touch capacitive fabric, and a particular word/phrase is displayed on the connected screen. The device has 8 tactile buttons going down the back all programmed to display different words and phrases. Throughout this process we were able to work with different kinds of touch capacitive fabrics, conductive thread, while working towards the end goal of a fully functioning device. The device facilitates non-auditory communication for hearing impaired or nonverbal individuals who are sound averse, while utilizing inclusive fabrics. It was also designed with removable electronic components from the fabric casing in order to allow for cleaning and customization for the patient.
Nicole Urban, PhD
BS - Biomedical Engineering
Wunder, Johanna; Vallee, Zakary; Tagen, Jeffrey; and Urban, Nicole, "Wearable Assistive Communication Device" (2023). Student Research Design & Innovation Symposium. 60.