Clever sorts at Colorado State University have been working on the issue of helping deaf people to communicate from an unusual angle.
Thanks to a breakthrough idea from professor John Williams (not related), they're attempting to develop a device which would sit at the roof of the mouth and listen to the world via a bluetooth microphone. Words that a person says would be translated into a series of vibrations and relayed, which could then be interpreted by the deaf person.
Research suggests that it's far from impossible for a person to learn to understand these patterns of vibrations, in much the same way blind peoplelearn to interpret the bumps and spaces of braille. If sucessful, it will be another way to open up the world to the hearing impaired, helping to make it easier than ever for them to integrate into every aspect of society.
The technology isn't anywhere near ready for day-to-day use but a dedicated company has been set up to pursue the idea and we hope to hear plenty more about it in the future.