An Innovated Pillow That Wakes a Deaf User With Vibrational Stimulation

About: The BCAMRL is a Mechatronics Research Lab, founded in 2014 on the campus of Bergen County Academies, a magnet high school within the Bergen County Technical School District. Students create innovations base...

Introduction to the topic:

Over 360 million people across the globe suffer from a disabling hearing loss. An alarm on one’s phone, or a digital clock, wake the normal person with a loud auditory stimulation. However, people that are deaf or hard of hearing can not use this device. Moreover, the inability to have normal lives and schedules has resulted in increased rates of anxiety and poor mental health. Current methods that the deaf population use include expensive personal aids and visual stimulation with flashing lights. These forms of stimulation are either not cost-efficient, or not as effective. For these reasons, a pillow or a device that wakes the deaf person with vibrational stimulation to the cochlear nerve in the back of the head would be a much better solution to this problem. A vibrator designed around a D.C. motor and Arduino is installed inside a pillow. This would be able to be controlled via an app on a smartphone, thus the user can set the time in which they want to wake up. This innovation would make the deaf populations’ life more convenient and safe, now and in the future.

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Step 1: Components


- D.C. motor

- Off-Centered Disk

- Black Capsule

- AdaFruit Feather

- Cotton

- Pillow Case

- 3D printed blue bucket

- Power cord

All parts can be either be easily bought or 3D printed.

Step 2: Assembly

After getting the right parts, plan out your pillow as summarized below:

1. The D.C. motor was placed inside the black capsule.

2. The motor is rotating an off-centered disk, in order to create vibrations

3. The Adafruit Feather was placed inside a 3D printed blue case

4. Then hot glue it on top of the black capsule

5. The Adafruit Feather’s code was done and imported onto a smartphone

6. The vibrator was placed inside of a handmade pillow stuffed with cotton

Step 3: Code (AdaFruit- Arduino) C++

The code is attached. Just plugging in the Adafruit to your laptop and downloading Arduino from the internet will enable you to upload the program and run the code.

Step 4: Completed Product

After inserting the vibrator inside the pillow, the pillow can be designed with different color fabrics (for aesthetics).

Depending on the size of the pillow you chose, the product should look as depicted in the image.

Step 5: Presentation (trifold)



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