Friday, 14 November 2014

This man can hear Wi-Fi

This man can hear Wi-Fi 

In every crisis lies the seed of opportunity.
And few know this better than Frank Swain, who can now ‘hear’ Wi-Fi while he walks down the street after beginning to lose his hearing.

London-based Mr Swain 32, was diagnosed with early onset hearing loss when he was in his 20s and said he was inspired to hack his hearing aids the moment he was given his first pair.

Two years on, the science writer has produced a tool that makes Wi-Fi audible, thanks to a grant from UK innovation charity Nesta and a collaboration with sound artist Daniel Jones.
Mr Swain’s Phantom Terrains technology runs on an iPhone and picks up details about nearby signals, which it converts into a unique sonic tone.

‘This audio is then streamed wirelessly over a Bluetooth connection to a pair of Starkey Halo hearing aids,’ Mr Swain told The Independent
‘These hearing aids are designed so that audio sent by Bluetooth can be blended with the normal output of the devices.

‘In effect, I hear the Wi-Fi sound mixed into my normal hearing.’
And Mr Swain hopes that with the advent of technology like Siri and Google Glass, everyone will soon want an earpiece that connects them to their smartphone.
He added that the experience has changed how he views his hearing loss – and now sees his disability as something he can use to his advantage.

‘I don’t feel like I’ve lost something any more, instead I feel like I’ve gained something,’ he said.

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