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Technology and the Deaf: "A brief look at emerging technology benefiting people who are Deaf."
By Cole Rummelhart
One technological advancement that does benefits known as “Motionsavvy UNI” allows the Deaf to communicate with the “hearing” and vice versa. This technology was announced as “the world's first two-way communication software for the Deaf” (Szczerba, 2015). The UNI, Szczerba says, “translates American Sign Language (ASL) into speech.” To insure the signs are recognized correctly by the software, UNI used a special camera that tracks the location of the arms and fingers to present graphic representation of the hands and giving positive feed back to the signer. In addition to defined hand gestures, the UNI has the option to upload signs to the internet and share signs with others via its expandable dictionary and customizable signs added by the user. The UNI also contains one of the leading pieces of voice recognition technology, Dragon Nuance Pro, to accommodate the other side of the communication. The company released this product in September, 2015.
Another piece of technology of aid to the Deaf consists of devices connected to lights or vibration. This alerts the Deaf of a ringing doorbell or phone, a baby crying, or an alarm going off (OLRC, 2016). One such device known as Flash “notifies you via a bright light that flashes in a specific pattern, so you can feel assured you will know when the telephone rings or someone calls at the door, for example” (Phonic Ear A/S, 2015). This device uses the Puzzle system alert transmitters to alert you of which Flash receives to notify you of an event that requires your presence. “The puzzle alert system consists of a minimum of one alert transmitter per alarm/ringtone and one alert device. This allows you to configure the alarm system to specific notifications such as a doorbell, telephone ringtone, baby monitor, call system, or smoke alarm signal. Flash also can be configured to notify you via light or vibration.
With today’s modern cell phone enthusiasm and app obsession it is no wonder the Deaf have grown accustomed to the similar habits of the “hearing” and many apps have been created just for the Deaf. One such app, known as Z5 Mobile, allows the Deaf to communicate with anyone, hearing or Deaf using WiFi or 3G connection, (ZVRS 2016). To translate for the “hearing”, a video session is created with an interpreter who verbally translates what is being signed.
Ohio Literacy Resource Center(OLRC). (2016, Oct. 23)Technological Devices. OLRC. Receved 2016, Nov. 16: <literacy.kent.edu/Oasis/deaf/devices.html>
Phonic Ear A/S.Flash visual alert device. Phonic Ear. Received 2016, Nov. 17: <www.phonicear.com/aid/assistive_listining_devices/flash.aspx>
Szczerba, J. Robert.(2015, Apr. 15) 4 Game-changing technologies for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. Received 2016, Nov. 16: <www.forbes.com/sites/robertszczerba/2015/04/21/4-game-changing-technologies-for-the-deaf-and-hard-of-hearing/#6f15931b3879>
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