Google Glass can make learning Morse code much easier as researchers have developed a system that teaches the code within four hours using a series of vibrations felt near the ear.
Morse code is a method of transmitting text information in which letters are represented by combinations of long and short light or sound signals.
Participants wearing Google Glass learned it without paying attention to the signals — they played games while feeling the taps and hearing the corresponding letters.
After those few hours, they were 94 per cent accurate keying a sentence that included every letter of the alphabet and 98 per cent accurate writing codes for every letter, the researchers said.
“Does this new study mean that people will rush out to learn Morse code? Probably not,” said lead researcher Thad Starner, Professor at Georgia Institute of Technology .
“It shows that PHL (passive haptic learning) lowers the barrier to learn text-entry methods — something we need for smartwatches and any text-entry that doesn’t require you to look at your device or keyboard,” Starner said in a Georgia Tech statement.
This is the latest chapter of passive haptic learning studies at Georgia Tech.
The same method — using vibrations while participants aren’t paying attention — has taught people braille, how to play the piano and improved hand sensation for those with partial spinal cord injury.
In the current study, the team decided to use Glass because it has both a built-in speaker and tapper (Glass’s bone-conduction transducer).
In the study, participants played a game while feeling vibration taps between their temple and ear.
The taps represented the dots and dashes of Morse code and passively “taught” users through their tactile senses — even while they were distracted by the game.
The taps were created when researchers sent a very low-frequency signal to Glass’s speaker system. Because it was played very slowly, the sound was felt as a vibration.
Half of the participants in the study felt the vibration taps and a voice prompt for each corresponding letter. The other half — the control group — felt no taps to help them learn.
Participants were tested throughout the study on their knowledge of Morse code and their ability to type it. After less than four hours of feeling every letter, everyone was challenged to type the alphabet in Morse code in a final test.
The control group was accurate only half the time. Those who felt the passive cues were nearly perfect.