Have you ever tried to get your child’s attention only to be ignored??… We certainly have, and now more than ever getting our youngest daughters attention is a huge challenge. Just this past week Rebecca had revision surgery to replace her cochlear implants, a device that allows her to hear. Unfortunately due to a device recall both of her implants have had to be removed and replaced. During the healing process the devices remain off for several weeks as the external device that attaches to them can not be attached. Although Rebecca can not hear us today, she will be able to hear us again soon. In the mean time it can be challenging to get her attention, especially outdoors when she is facing away from us. Even when her cochlear implants are on it still can be a challenge to get her attention. Cochlear implants are amazing devices but they do have their limitations which include hearing effectively from a distance and in noisy environments. We do believe that this device will be helpful even after her implants are reactivated.
To help us communicate with her more effectively we hacked together a solution that enables us to use our google voice assistant to get her attention through a vibrating wristband.
Here in the video you can see that Rebecca picked up the concept and when the device is activated she will look around for myself or her mom.
This solution uses a Trinket MO from Adafruit paired with a tile that is being utilized for the google assistant interface. The MO picks up the notification signal from the tile and using a DRV2605 motor driver and off center motor, it vibrates the wristband.
The whole thing is powered from a thin 3.7v lipo that lasts roughly a day on a charge. I plan to optimize the code a bit more to increase this to at least three days to allow it to potentially be used as a wake up mechanism as well. Nothing like trying to wake a deaf kid up in the morning!! Using this along with our google assistant will help us with that process by vibrating her wrist on a schedule, or by voice activation.
For the housing a very simple rigid chassis was designed to protect the electronics, and the whole assembly was placed into a low cost sweat band that can be purchased from Amazon.
We see this device as being useful even post activation for a number of challenges that Rebecca has to overcome on a daily basis due to her Usher syndrome.
It will certainly be something we keep in our toolbox as we continue to Adapt the World to her needs.
Technology is not always designed with people with extra needs in mind but with small tweaks to existing devices, solutions can be created that can make a huge impact in someones life.