The “hearing glove” presumably invented by Norbert Wiener has been relegated to a footnote in most histories of cybernetics. This article surveys the long history of the hearing glove concept, arguing the significance of this and related speech technologies to the definitions of information, compression, and feedback in twentieth-century communication engineering. Emerging from techniques of “the material voice” in deaf oral education, hearing gloves were increasingly applied to voice standardization and efficient transmission. Contrary to scholarship that emphasizes dematerialization and disembodiment in information theory and cybernetics, I argue that communication engineers treated the voice and other signals as material commodities and remained committed to conventional bodies.
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Mara Mills; On Disability and Cybernetics: Helen Keller, Norbert Wiener, and the Hearing Glove. differences 1 December 2011; 22 (2-3): 74–111. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/10407391-1428852
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