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£400 XRAI smart glasses turn audio into captions to let deaf people 'SEE' conversations

The smart glasses that allow deaf people to ‘SEE’ conversations: £400 XRAI augmented reality sunglasses convert audio into captions projected directly in front of your eyes

  • The XRAI Glass glasses use augmented reality to convert audio into captions
  • These are projected directly in front of the wearer’s eyes
  • Josh Feldman, 23, was born with severe hearing loss and described his experience testing the glasses as ‘pretty extraordinary’

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While smart glasses were once limited to the world of science fiction, brands ranging from Snapchat to Facebook have released their own devices in recent years.

Now a new smart glasses have been launched for people who are deaf or suffer from hearing loss.

Called XRAI Glass, the glasses use augmented reality to convert audio into captions projected directly in front of the wearer’s eyes.

“We are so proud of the ability of this innovative technology to enrich the lives of the deaf and hearing loss so they can maximize their potential,” said Dan Scarfe, CEO of XRAI Glass.

“Whether that means being able to carry on a conversation while you stay for dinner or keep a conversation going while you’re walking with a friend.”

Called XRAI Glass, the glasses use augmented reality to convert audio into captions projected directly in front of the wearer's eyes.

Called XRAI Glass, the glasses use augmented reality to convert audio into captions projected directly in front of the wearer’s eyes.

Nreal Air goggles: key specs

Open form factor: 148mm x 52mm x 159mm

Closed form factor: 148mm x 52mm x 60mm

Current: Till 5 o ‘clock

Weight: 79 grams

Sound: 2 open-ear speakers

Price: £399.99

The hardware was developed by AR glasses company Nreal through their Nreal Air glasses, while XRAI Glass provided the software.

This software converts audio into a subtitled version of the conversation, which then appears on the screen of the glasses.

Thanks to speech recognition capabilities, the glasses can even identify who is speaking and will soon be able to translate languages, voice tones, accents and pitch, according to XRAI Glass.

Josh Feldman, 23, was born with severe hearing loss and has had hearing aids in both ears since he was 18 months old.

He tested the glasses without any idea what they were going to do and described them as “very special.”

“The impact of not being able to rely on looking at someone’s lips and talking to them is clearly something that can change lives,” Josh said.

Meanwhile, Hannah Brady, who has 60 percent hearing loss in both ears, described the glasses as “brilliant.”

Josh Feldman (pictured) was born with severe hearing loss and has had hearing aids in both ears since he was 18 months old.

Josh Feldman (pictured) was born with severe hearing loss and has had hearing aids in both ears since he was 18 months old.

Josh Feldman (pictured) was born with severe hearing loss and has had hearing aids in both ears since he was 18 months old.

The software converts audio into a subtitled version of the conversation, which then appears on the screen of the glasses

The software converts audio into a subtitled version of the conversation, which then appears on the screen of the glasses

The software converts audio into a subtitled version of the conversation, which then appears on the screen of the glasses

“Gosh, that’s really accurate,” she said. “The brilliant thing about it is that it doesn’t get in the way of what I’m trying to see either.”

In addition to allowing deaf people to “see” conversations with other people, the glasses can also open the door to other technologies, such as smart assistants.

Hannah tested the glasses to talk to Amazon’s Alexa and was able to “see” Alexa’s reaction about the weather forecast, all the while chopping limes in the kitchen.

Mark Atkinson, CEO of the Royal National Institute for Deaf People (RNID), said: ‘This is a great example of the positive difference innovative technology can make for people who are deaf or have hearing loss.

“At RNID, we are excited about the potential of technology to change the lives of our communities.

“Intuitive and easy to use, XRAI glass can be a powerful tool in helping people with hearing loss not feel left out in social settings.

“We support and applaud this endeavor and are eager to play our part in connecting innovators with our diverse communities.”

The glasses are now available via EE for £399.99, or for a £10 deposit and then £35/month for 11 months for EE customers.

WHICH COMPANIES WORK ON AUGMENTED REALITY GLASSES?

Last year, Snap unveiled its next generation of glasses, the first with augmented reality (AR)

Last year, Snap unveiled its next generation of glasses, the first with augmented reality (AR)

Last year, Snap unveiled its next generation of glasses, the first with augmented reality (AR)

Augmented reality (AR) glasses have seen a resurgence in desirability, with many companies working to develop their own technology.

Bose recently joined a burgeoning list of tech companies building augmented reality glasses.

The first company to enter the race was Google, which released the Google Glass in 2011.

Google Glass, now called Glass, has moved from a consumer-oriented product to a business product used by companies like Boeing.

Since then, several companies have released their own products.

Secretive startup Magic Leap started working on a prototype several years ago, but finally debuted in 2018 with its ‘mixed reality’ smart glasses.

Tech company Vuzix, based in Rochester, New York, launched its Vuzix Blade glasses in 2019 for about $1,300.

They use a small projector to show a virtual image in the top right corner of their lenses.

Wearers can connect to Wi-Fi and read emails and other messages through the display, and use Amazon’s digital assistant Alexa to give voice commands.

Rumor has it that Amazon is also working on its own AR glasses that will be released sometime in the future.

Additionally, Intel released its prototype smart glasses, the Vaunt, earlier this year.

The glasses use retinal projection to place a small screen on the wearer’s eyeball.

Snap has launched its Spectacles and there are rumors that Facebook and Apple are working on AR glasses.

Niantic, the American company Pokemon Go, has also revealed that it is partnering with Qualcomm to create its own AR headset technology.

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