At the Design Research Lab, we develop the Mobile Lorm Glove, a mobile communication and translation device for the deaf-blind. The prototype translates the hand-touch alphabet “Lorm”, a common form of communication used by people with both hearing and vision impairment, into text and vice versa.

Textile pressure sensors located on the palm of the glove enable the deafblind user to “lorm” on his or her own hand to compose text messages. A Bluetooth connection transmits the data from the glove to the user’s handheld device. It is then forwarded to the receiver’s handheld device in the form of an SMS. If the wearer of the Mobile Lorm Glove receives a text message, the message will be forwarded via Bluetooth from his or her handheld device to the glove. Initiated by small vibration motors located on the back of the glove, tactile feedback patterns allow the wearer to perceive incoming messages.

The Mobile Lorm Glove provides particularly two innovative ways of communication for deafblind people: it supports mobile communication over distance, e.g. text message, chat or e-mail, and it enables parallel one-to-many communication, which is especially helpful in school and other learning contexts. With this newly developed technology and interaction, it will soon become possible to also “feel” e-Books or audiobooks. The Mobile Lorm Glove functions as a simultaneous translator and makes communicating with others without knowledge of “Lorm” possible. As a result, it empowers deaf-blind people to engage with a wider social world and further enhances their independence.

The next step of our research will be to prepare the implementation of direct speech input and output.

Team: Tom Bieling, Ulrike Gollner


Radio Interview on the Project DESIGN IN(G) SOCIETY.

To listen or download the Interview click here! (Language: German).

For further Infos on the project click here!

Or “watch” it on Youtube:

On the 4th October an impressive protest march of the deaf-blind took place in Berlin. Many of the participants took the opportunity to express and tweet their thoughts, demands, needs, wishes and requests with the @LormHand.

The Lorm Hand is an installation, which connects deaf-blind people with twitter or other social networks. Using touch sensory technology, the Lorm Hand enables deaf-blind people to compose text messages by applying the tactile hand-touch alphabet LORM, a common way of communication used by the deaf-blind. After typing a message on the Lorm Hand, it can immediately be tweeted or shared with social networks.

The Lorm Hand was created by the Design Research Lab initially for this event, so that the protest would go online and could be shared with a broader community. Furthermore the Lorm Hand has been used as a tool of communication for other non deaf-blind people, who are generally interested in the topic “deaf-blindness” and who can use it as a learning tool, to literally get in touch with the idea of LORM or deaf-blind culture in general.

WEAVE article

August 3, 2011

The latest edition of the WEAVE magazine features some of my and my colleagues’ projects (e.g. the Mobile Lorm Glove).  On pg 44-48 you also find an interview in which i discuss the correlation between disability studies, interaction- and design research.

[WEAVE 04.2011 – August/September]

Call My Attention!

March 14, 2011

This short video visualizes one of our recent projects: “Call My Attention” is a mobile application for immediate Line-of-Sight Signaling. It results from the Project “Speechless” at the DESIGN RESERACH LAB of the University of the Arts in collaboration with T-Labs Berlin. Further information about this research project, posted on my research blog, you find here!

direction & camera: Kai Hattermann

The latest edition of the PAGE discusses different perspectives of design research.  In a selected article on pg 52/53 it portraits some of my current work and thoughts…

[PAGE 02.2010 – ISSN 0935-6274]

One Day blind in Berlin

January 9, 2010

Enjoy some impressions* from my recent “self-experience”. What is it like to be blind in Berlin…
[*Shot by S. Schipper]

Further information about this trip, posted on my research blog, you find here!

Laboratorial Design Research goes into the Field. In August 2009 we organized the StreetLab* in Berlin Neukölln. Now, the documentary is ready. Watch it!

* StreetLab Background:
In an experimental and human-centered design approach we seek to understand young people in urban context. To enable the research about authentic experiences in every day live, we “moved” the laboratory onto the street, thereby combining a semi controlled environment with a situation of permanent field research. Thus our aim was loosen the borders between laboratory and field research as an experimental hybrid approach.  In view of growing diversification and the multi ethnic urban society in the global context, we focus our research on heterogenic urban neighborhoods. We look on how to employ mobile Information-Communication-Technology to facilitate creativity, understanding and social/environmental sustainability.

Our StreetLab Project, a co-design project with young kids and teenagers in Berlin/Neukölln, is over now! We wanna share results and experience as well as a bunch of cold drinks and finger food with you on tuesday, 15th of september (7 p.m.). Looking forward to see you!

Check out the StreetLab Trailer: