Google Glass: The Deaf community’s disruptive innovation

The video at the top of this page is an interesting time capsule. It’s Eric Sykes, talking to Jack Ashley on See Hear about his special glasses, which are in fact hearing aids. They use bone conduction technology to transmit sound into his inner ear.

A year from now, Google will be selling a pair of glasses that transmit sound to the wearer through bone conduction. However, unlike the specs that Eric Sykes wore, Google Glass has the potential to change deaf people’s lives forever. Continue reading “Google Glass: The Deaf community’s disruptive innovation”

The day I almost went to a deaf school

The other day I started going through my address book in some sort of attempt to be grown up and organised. I was shocked to find that of the 3,500 people in my contacts list, quite a few of them had passed away in the last few years. There was my Grandma’s mobile number, who I used to text every now and then to keep her up to date.

Then there was my Uncle Ging, who passed away a few years ago in South Africa. It was strange to see his email address in my contacts list. I almost reflexively sent him a message, to see if he would reply.

Uncle Ging and Uncle Richard

That’s him on the left. His actual name was Christopher, but my family always had an interesting attitude to naming conventions. He’s pictured here next to my other Uncle, known as Richard, for that is his name. Continue reading “The day I almost went to a deaf school”

Billy 2.0 – If Apple made cochlear implants…

Watch the video above. Its an old film reel from 1928 of the premiere of Charlie Chaplin’s film The Circus. When an eagle eyed historian watched the film’s DVD extras, he spotted a woman walking along, talking into a handheld object near her mouth. There was only one possible explanation – she was a time traveller from the future, talking to someone on her mobile phone.

I don’t know what mobile phone coverage was like in 1928 – I suspect it might have been somewhat patchy – but in the end, it was revealed to be a woman in her 50s, using a handheld hearing aid manufactured in 1925.
Continue reading “Billy 2.0 – If Apple made cochlear implants…”

Billy 2.0 – What does a Cochlear Implant sound like?

I’d like to ask you a favour, if you’re reading this. Can you watch the video below, and tell me what speech and music sounds like to you in the comments section below?

There are several clips of speech and music – I’m assuming that the implant I am getting will be closest to the 20 channel samples you hear on the video.

This is an approximation of the sound of a cochlear implant using sound editing software.

Read the comments on the video here. A couple of CI users there who have said that they can hear a marked difference between ‘normal speech’ and that video!

What you may find is that if you listen to the video more than once, the speech and music becomes clearer each time. This is the brain ‘learning’ the sounds for you. This article explains how that works in more detail.

This link may also be interesting. PBS Video

I look forward to your thoughts.

Billy 2.0 – Starting a journey of known unknowns

Donald Rumsfeld

This is Donald Rumsfeld. He once said:

There are known knowns; there are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns; that is to say there are things that, we now know we don’t know. But there are also unknown unknowns – there are things we do not know we don’t know.

He may have been derided at the time, but watching his speech I know exactly what he meant. 28 days from today I’m embarking on a journey of known unknowns and unknown unknowns.

Continue reading “Billy 2.0 – Starting a journey of known unknowns”


Jacob and Helen (Mads Mikkelsen and Sidse Babbett Knudsen) share a moment in Suzanne Bier's After the Wedding
Jacob and Helen (Mads Mikkelsen and Sidse Babbett Knudsen) share a moment in Susanne Bier’s After the Wedding

This was a film I saw advertised in a lot of London Underground stations in 2006, the release timed to coincide with Mads Mikkelsen’s turn as Le Chiffre in Casino Royale. As such, I dismissed it out of hand.

However, After The Wedding (Efter Brylluppet) is a beautiful piece of work and well worth seeking out.
Continue reading “AFTER THE WEDDING”