Talking Hands - Hero Image
Inclusive design  •  Interaction design
User research  •  UX/UI  •  3D modeling
Inclusive design  •  Interaction design
User research  •  UX/UI  •  3D modeling
Inclusive design  •  Interaction design  •
User research  •  UX/UI  •  3D modeling
Developed in collaboration between PUC-Rio University and Microsoft Research Design Expo 2015

The chosen theme that year was Inclusive Design & Technologies. The competition aimed at “designing a solution for someone with a context-dependent disability” so that the result of the project met a defined need, but was also extensible to wider applications.

Taking the hearing disability as a starting point and focusing on non-verbal ways of interaction, the goal achieved was creating a wristband that works similarly to a smartwatch, but is activated only by hand gestures and it’s mainly aimed for quick communication purposes.
Talking Hands - Illustrative Research Slide
In order to immerse in the context of hearing limitation, a initial field research was done at INES (National Institute for the Education of Deaf), an institute based in Rio de Janeiro specialised in teaching deaf people, as well as listeners who want to communicate with people who have hearing loss by using LIBRAS, the Brazilian Language Sign. The field research made possible to discover about the deaf culture, which is basically the  rules and methods for communication that are used by people with hearing limitation as an alternative to overcome their communication troubles in daily life.

By getting to know this culture, the following aspects about the deaf-to-deaf and deaf-to-hearing communication were brought to light: deaf people need to be face-to-face with someone they’re communicating with in order to be able to see the other person's face and body expressions, as those are fundamental for the interaction through the sign language. During the User Research Phase a question emerged: “what happens when deaf people are not face-to-face to communicate? How can they reach someone?". Following this question, an analysis of situations where communication could be impaired was done, starting with the focus only on deaf people, then extending it to listeners in situations where they have reduced hearing possibilities. 
Talking Hands - Illustrative Concept Slide
On a party or music festival environment, for instance, most of the people experience how the hearing gets limited. So, in order to communicate with others or find a friend in the crowd, usually gestures are used; cellphone messages are sent; people search for more efficient ways to reach someone without necessarily using the voice, when either the hearing or speaking option is restricted. 

Through these perspective, the communication with hearing limitations issue was chosen as a main focus for the project and its key concept became: “In a world where the exchange of information is getting more and more intense and fast, how would it be possible to reach someone quickly and immediately when there is no way of using sounds or any personal contact?”
Talking Hands - Initial Ideation Sketch
Initial Ideation sketch
Talking Hands - Features Slide
Talking Hands is a wristband that enables a new way of interaction through gestures using muscles sensors that can track precise and wide hand movements, allowing a rapid and simple communication between people. It can connect with other same Talking Hands wristband quickly through Bluetooth and also with other devices, such as smartphones, using either Bluetooth or Wi-fi connection.

Talking Hands intention is not to reinvent the smartwatch. The purpose is to implement a new way of communication, a way that people with hearing loss are used to: the gestural communication. This gadget can make communication in certain places and contexts easier.

Designed with malleable and sealable material, in silicone, the wristband can be used under water. The User Interface is customisable, by creating and setting new messages and new gestures to its library. In addition, the 360° display allows to view the interface in any hand position, even while driving or riding a bike. The magnetic closure at the extremity of the wristband makes it possible to fit the band in any wrist size by manual adjusting and the alerts have lightening and haptic feedback.
Talking Hands - Usability Requirements Slide
Talking Hands - Features Slide
Talking Hands - Storyboard of usage
Interaction between two users with the Talking Hands wristband
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