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Fujitsu device turns sounds into light, vibrations

The Yomiuri Shimbun

A woman is seen wearing an Ontenna device, which conveys the characteristics of sounds using vibration and light.

The Yomiuri Shimbun Fujitsu Ltd. will begin sales next month of a device that lets users sense sound through light and vibrations.

Dubbed “Ontenna,” the company hopes the device assists the hearing-impaired, while also being used by audiences without hearing difficulties to watch sports and movies.

The device is about the size of a thumb and is fastened to users’ hair or shirt collars. Sounds between 60 to 90 decibels are converted into 256 levels of light and vibration, enabling deaf users to sense the rhythm, patterns and volume of sounds.

A palm-sized controller can also simultaneously transmit the characteristics of sounds it detects to multiple Ontenna devices.

Ontenna is expected to be priced at about ¥25,000, excluding tax. The controller costs about ¥30,000, excluding tax. The devices will be distributed at no cost to schools nationwide that have students with hearing impairments and other disabilities.Speech

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