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Good Vibes: Communication innovation

29 May 2018

Communication can be extremely challenging for people with deafblindness. If you cannot hear words being spoken, or see people around you, it is very difficult to receive information, express needs or interact spontaneously with others. 

Sense International India recently worked with Cheil WW India to try out some new technology designed to help overcome these challenges.

A man uses a mobile phone

Image above shows a person with deafblindness testing the Good Vibes app 

The Good Vibes Project

People with deafblindness frequently require the assistance of a guide interpreter to translate verbal communication into tactile sign language. Without this support, their views and opinions may be overlooked, causing them to become isolated and excluded.

Recognising the need for simple and accessible two-way communication between people with deafblindness and others, Cheil WW India worked closely with Sense International India to conceptualise, design and develop the Good Vibes mobile app.

Good Vibes harnesses smartphone technology to facilitate independent tactile communication. Using the Morse code alphabet, persons with deafblindness may transmit messages with a series of short (‘dot’) or long (‘dash’) taps. The app translates these into written text. Similarly, the smartphone’s ability to vibrate enables text messages to be interpreted into a series of short and long pulses that can be felt by users. The result is fluid communication without the need for an interpreting intermediary.

A hand being traced over a sheet of letters with Morse code for each

Image shows participants learning the Morse code alphabet to use the Good Vibes app.

Watch the following video to learn more about the app’s functionality, or view the video on YouTube.

The Good Vibes app was launched at Sense International India’s National Training for Deafblind Adults in January 2018. Participants had the opportunity to experience the technology, and initial impressions were positive. Uttam Kumar, Sense International India’s Head of Programmes, summed up the excitement:

‘This app is going to open a whole new door for persons with deafblindness because the technology is changing…and more phones with touch technology are coming here.’

The app has already received a lot of interest, winning four awards at GoaFest 2018, and a Graphite Pencil award from D&AD.

For more information about the app, please visit the Good Vibes website.

Find out more about Sense International's work in India.

First published: Tuesday 18 June 2013
Last updated: Wednesday 4 April 2018