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At a recent kids school function, my first grader and his classmates demonstrated their sign language skills. Later, a hearing impaired class mom showed a TTY device that she uses as a phone.
I was struck by the fact that the devices are using ancient technology and require operators for many functions.
For a close circle of people, she'd be better of with a email/IM enabled PDA.
But since you obviously need to both make and receive calls for the forseeable future, it seems the technology could use an update using existing components:
a) Text to speech, so that text she types would be pronounced for the receiver of the call (prefaced perhaps with an appropriate announcement)
b) Speech to text, so that callers that call her do not need an intervening operator. Perhaps an initial announcement can warn them to enunciate clearly, and tell them that they can spell words using touchpad on their phone
Other existing technologies could be incorporated as well (as in tying the ringer into the TV so that you woulnd't need a dog to tell you that the phone is ringing).
Next problem: The alarm clock
Alarm clocks for the deaf
No need to solve that problem. No speech-to-text, though. [English Bob, Oct 17 2004]
You type, they talk. [oneoffdave, Oct 17 2004]
Episode two featured a type-to-talk phone system. [DrBob, Oct 17 2004]
[theircompetitor, Mar 22 2005]
Sign Language on Video Phones
A different approach [theircompetitor, Sep 04 2008]
||Should be easy enough to do. I can usually tell when I get an e-mail from someone who uses speech-to-text, but it still makes sense if you read it out to yourself.
Alarm clocks are baked, though (see link).
||The woman described how the dog basically jumps on her to wake her up. The dog is supposed to behave differently if it's a fire alarm, too, so you could tell.
||There's a UK service called typetalk that does this but does involve an operator. The deaf person uses their textphone to contact the operator and they call the hearing person. The operator tells you what they read off the textphone and types your responses. It feels a little odd at first but once you are used to it, it works really well. My deaf collegues use it all the time when communicating with organisations that aren't geared up for alternative communication formats. Removing the operator and adding speech recognition would be a real bonus.
||I've been on the receiving end of a typetalk call. It's quite weird at first, as oneoff says, but does indeed work well. But I agree, the technology is there and baking this idea makes good sense.
Moving away from reality ever so slightly, the Channel 4 (UK) mini-series Ultraviolet posited that vampires would be undetectable by modern electronics and so had to use a similar system in order to make phone calls.
||Have a phone signal go to a infrared remote that flicks the tv channel with respect to phone rings .
||Couldn't they use some type of braille-enabled PDA to text as other people do so as to cut down on speech-to-text irregularities/ mistakes/ accidents?