There are around 5000 deafblind people living in Germany. These people can neither hear nor see and as a consequence they also have difficulty in speaking In order to understand the world, they are entirely dependent on their sense of touch. Hieronymus Lorm – who became deaf at the age of 15 and then found that his eyesight was failing - developed in the middle of the 19th Century a touch or manual alphabet, in order to be able to communicate with his fellow men. The Lormen is a form of communication for deafblind to communicate with other people, named after Hieronymus Lorm.
"Talking" is done by directly tracing lines & shapes on the "readers" palm. The Lorm alphabet assigns letters & numbers to individual fingers or to more than one finger. When both partners are practiced in Lormen, the communication is very quick. Lormen is the dominant mode of communication with deaf blind people & between deaf blind people. Some deafblind people can read Braille and are therefore able to read and write and can participate more fully in life.
But those who do not know Braille, for example because they became blind at a relatively late age, are always dependent on a human translator to convey information physically using the Lormen language. Access to most information is more difficult for those people who cannot use Braille. Click here to learn more about a useful invention for deafblind people! The Lormer is a machine invented by Thomas Rupp which translates machine text into movement. It assigns a defined meaning to particular motion - a letter or a sign - and reproduces it. This movement is then applied by a stylus in Lormen lines to a hand resting on a comfortable metal grid (like a kitchen sieve). The Lormer registers and stores three dimensional motion. Each motion can be tuned or set individually and matched to the size of any hand, and can be stored and retrieved.
Using the Lormer deafblind people can read and access machine readable text without external assistance or translation and can therefore communicate directly with others. The software is programmed in such a way that several profiles for different users can be stored. For each user profile the Lormer stores such details as the hand size and other personal attributes such as speed. A user profile can be protected by a fingerprint sensor against unauthorized access. Thus the privacy of the deafblind is protected, if the equipment is used by several users.
The most important functions of the Lormer can be utilized made by deafblind users with few keys and very simply using a Force feedback Gamepad. The Lormer can also be operated via a keyboard or a mouse or using normal speech the spoken word. Gamepad vibration signals the end of words and sentences to the user of the Lormer. The moreover one command confirmations or status messages are given in such a way to the user, who is made additionally by acoustic output and by the monitor, so that the operation is simply possible also by non-deafblind humans and/or auxiliary persons. The messages sent by the deafblind person are also shown in text on the computer screen and are also delivered orally by the computer so that helpers can also understand the communications which are going on.
The Lormer offers many and various communication and information possibilities: deafblind people can, using the Lormer, read Word documents, emails, web pages and printed text of all kinds. Since the Lormer has an acoustic output and a speech recognition function, spoken text can be translated directly into Lormmoves through a microphone. The computer repeats the spoken text orally and shows it on screen to ensure that the speaker can be certain that an accurate rendering of the text is made before it is Lormered. The speaker hears the text understood about the computer as a check of the acoustic output and can this if necessary directly likewise by language instruction correct. The deafblind can also react immediately directly to the spoken and/or Lormered text and communicate directly in real time with other people in this way. A keyboard is used by the deafblind person to enter an answer. Simultaneously as the user depresses a key the appropriate letter is Lormered as a check into the hand of the deafblind user. In this way the deafblind user recognizes the arrangement of the keys on the keyboard and can then learn how to write text independently the independent writing of text.
The Lormer is particularly suitable for institutions, in which deafblind people are cared for. Several deafblind pupils can be taught (by networking of several Lormer) at the same time by a teacher. The vocabulary of deafblind humans is often relatively limited, so that to understand a text frequent explanations of words are necessary. In order to accommodate this problem the Lormer has an on line encyclopedia function and can call up further explanation by the mere push of a button. Thus on the one hand the vocabulary of the user is extended and on the other it is possible for helpers to work out which words or phrases cannot be understood by the deafblind person. This enables the helpers to provide assistance. Knowledge gaps can be recognized by helpers and so the deafblind pupils can be given targets to meet in their advancement. The Lormer makes access to vast amounts of previously unavailable information for deafblind people possible and improves communication possibilities - without such technology knowledge of Braille is necessary!