Thanks to a special armband, people with limited hearing capacity could play a more active role in conversations.
Now, a Portuguese research institute is helping children with visual impairment converse with their non-visually impaired counterparts.
Key to the enterprise: a modified, commercially-available robotic toy. It moves between children as they speak and uses an in-built microphone to determine who is talking.
By monitoring how much each child speaks, the robot is able to provide encouragement to those who are more reticent, communicating through verbal utterances and LED lights.
An initial study suggests robot intervention promotes more equal participation.