The ontenna is a little piece of technology that converts sound waves into vibrations and is designed to be worn in the hair. The wearable device, which was initially unveiled the year prior, is probably going to go into production by the end of this year. The company’s goal is to produce it at a price that is far less than that of a hearing aid.
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The Ontenna, which was developed by Fujitsu in Japan in collaboration with people who are hard of hearing, looks like a hefty hair clip. After being mounted, the device is capable of detecting sound pressure ranging from 30 dB to 90 dB and converting that sound pressure into varying levels of vibration and light intensity. “Experience sound through strands of hair, much like the whiskers of a cat can perceive movements in the air,” according to the notion behind this device’s design.
A user can experience the sensation of a sound’s rhythms, its patterns, and its volume by converting the cadence pattern of a sound source in real time. This allows the user to perceive the sound more accurately. In spite of the fact that the device does not perform the functions of a hearing aid, a person who wears it will be able to acquire an auditory feel of their surroundings thanks to the 256 distinct levels of vibrating feedback. These would be felt as feelings passing through the hair on your head.
If a person is seated inside their house when the doorbell rings, for instance, the device will vibrate to simulate the sound of the doorbell. Or, if someone is vacuuming and the cord comes out of the wall socket, the user would be able to detect the sudden drop in noise that occurs when this occurs.
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According to Wired, the production run will be at around 1,000 pieces. As a first step, these will be provided to individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing as part of a more extensive test. There will be a larger model that has Bluetooth and a smaller model that does not have Bluetooth. In the not too distant future, the company is also planning to develop an antenna in the form of an earring.