People with impaired hearing could benefit from an invention developed by a student in product design. Elaine McLuskey, from Edinburgh Napier University, has designed a futuristic "social sphere" that fits over the head. It resembles an astronaut's helmet, and allows users to hear each other clearly and hold intimate conversations in noisy environments such as a packed pub. She said: "My research found that in some cases a person's environment can be more disabling than a hearing impairment and so, in some respects, we are all hearing-impaired on a daily basis." The sphere was exhibited at the School of Arts and Creative Industries' degree show earlier this month.