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Head-mounted device allows deaf cyclists to ‘feel’ surrounding traffic

A new device that helps deaf cyclists pinpoint the location of undetected passing traffic has been unveiled by a student from Brunel Design School. Industrial…

Monday, Jun 06

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A new device that helps deaf cyclists pinpoint the location of undetected passing traffic has been unveiled by a student from Brunel Design School.

Industrial designer Divine Okoroji, who was born deaf in one ear, said he hopes the device will give the hard of hearing more confidence on their bike.

“I never really used to cycle on the road,” said Okoroji, 22, from London. “I felt like I was always getting myself into positions where I was having near-misses, and that I’d probably be more confident and aware on the road if I could hear better.”

The slickly-designed device – SONEAR – uses ultrasonic sensors to monitor traffic, letting the user know when a vehicle is in their proximity by delivering small vibrations to the back of their head. As cars get closer, the tingling vibration increases, allowing the cyclist to ‘feel’ the car’s proximity to them.

Due to be exhibited at Made in Brunel at London’s Oxo Tower, the flagship design show for students from Brunel Design School, Okoroji hopes that his device can help deaf people participate in cycling’s ‘bike boom’ that first began with the COVID-19 pandemic. Made in Brunel runs from 16-19 Jun 2022
The Bargehouse, Oxo Tower, London https://www.madeinbrunel.com/ Sonear is designed to be worn without a helmet, although Okoroji says that far from being a safety concern, it’s a feature born from a ‘user centred design’ approach – a decision supported by his research.

“The most impactful findings were from the deaf community, as some members […]

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