These New Glasses Will Allow The Deaf To ‘See’ Conversations By Turning Audio Into Subtitles


For Dan Scarfe, having to see his 97-year-old grandfather surrounded by family but sit silently in the same room as family members during Christmas made him incredibly sad. His grandpa wasn’t able to join in the conversation, all because of his hearing loss.

Scarfe explained, “It’s got to the point now where he literally just sits in silence. And I thought, well, hang on a second. He watches TV all the time with subtitles. Why can’t we subtitle the world?”

It prompted him to start a company that could manufacture glasses that would put subtitles on conversations that were going on in the real world.

Using Amazon Alexa software to turn incoming audio into closed captioning (CC), what looks like a regular pair of glasses has given deaf people a chance to “hear” others. The software that was developed by Scarfe under his company Nreal project has brought ‘CCs through augmented reality onto the world through the glasses.’

XRAI Glass

It took Scarfe six months to complete and launch the XRAI glasses, there are still some things that need fixing. At the moment, the software cannot handle people speaking over each other, but he also insists that it’s just the start.

“We’re going with a small number to begin with to prove it out, to get the feedback, to understand what people like, what they don’t like, [and] rapidly innovate on that. And then we’re hoping if the winds are behind us, then we will reach general availability by September,” said Scarfe.

Considering the facts that the device as glasses are just that, glasses, and they use a normal cable to connect to your smartphone, their portability is incredibly impressive. In fact, Britain’s Royal National Institute for Deaf People (RNID), as well as the organization DeafKidz, are called it a “lifechanging innovation.”

According to Founder and Chair of DeafKidz International, Steve Crump, “As a profoundly deaf person myself, I was blown away by this technology. When I tried on the glasses, I was astonished—real time subtitles that enable you to engage and participate as never before.”

Considering there are 12 million potential users, these glasses will be available for purchase through a British healthcare provider network, while costing around £35, which is equal to $38, monthly for 11 months.

See more about this incredible product in the video below.