Stealth developer Neosensory raised $4.2 million in a new round of equity financing, according to an SEC filing, to fund a ‘sensing’ vest that could help the deaf learn to hear through vibrations.
The vest has a network of micro-sized vibrating motors embedded into it to act as a real-time, full body Braille-like system. An advanced algorithm is used to map the sounds across the series of vibrating motors to so the user can receive the information tactilely.
The creators claim people’s brains will, over time, learn to interpret the vibrations as a new sensory input, allowing deaf individuals to ‘feel’ sound and understand it.
Eagleman presented the vest in a TED talk in March, showing it off along with a video of a hearing-impaired individual translating speech read to him into writing on a whiteboard.
For non-deaf users, the vest could be used to communicate other data, such as altitude and trajectory information for pilots or transmitting the ‘general mood’ of social media during live events – something Eagleman announced the vest was transmitting to him during his TED talk.
The VEST – Versatile Extra-Sensory Transducer – began on Kickstarter looking to raise $40,000 to pay for early development. The device itself started as a PhD product by Neosensory co-founder Scott Novich, who was joined by his adviser, and co-founder, David Eagleman.
Money from the round came from 4 anonymous sources, and Neosensory has not released any information as to how the funds will be used, according to an SEC filing.