Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology modified a pair of Google Glass. The headset has a built-in speaker and a bone-conduction transducer which is meant to simulate the feeling of being tapped on the side of the head. The researchers then had participants play games while the lessons were being taught.
So as participants played, the speaker named a letter and also played the associated morse code signal. Half of the participants were also given taps corresponding to the letter in the morse code. After 4 hours, the researchers discovered that the participants that experienced the taps were 94% accurate when writing a sentence in morse code, and 98% when writing out the codes for each letter.
Those who only had the audio feedback got it right about half the time. Now not everyone will need or want to learn morse code, but if anything this research does seem to demonstrate how technology could help people learn new skills in a more efficient way. It’s not quite the same as downloading information straight into your brain a la The Matrix, but it’s still pretty cool all the same.
According to Thad Starner, who carried out the experiments, “Does this new study mean that people will rush out to learn Morse code? Probably not. It shows that 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.”