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Deaf-blind communication goes portable

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#1
tsutton

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Deaf-blind communication goes portable

As a Deaf user like myself, I am always on the lookout for good technology that makes mine (and others) lives easier by using devices that allows me to communicate with each other i.e. SMS'ing, e-mailing, etc.

And I've come across this article where HumanWare has developed some devices involving Bluetooth and HTC Mobile phone to develop a new portable device called DeafBlind Communicator (DBC) where it allows Deaf & Blind users to have face to face communications without the need of an interpreter.

A new portable device for deaf-blind people allows them to have face-to-face conversations, make phone calls using a text relay service and communicate by SMS.

The DeafBlind Communicator (DBC) consists of a Braille note-taker linked by Bluetooth to a mobile phone.

The DBC is made by assistive technology firm HumanWare and was developed in partnership with the Washington State Office of Deaf and Hard of Hearing (ODHH) as well as several deaf-blind individuals.


Pretty clever, using existing technology to work with their product and it made Deaf-Blind users' lives easier to allow them to commnicate with anyone. There are some videos showing how it works on the BBC News article below.

Keep up with the good work, HumanWare!

[Via: BBC News - Technology]

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#2
Mysterious Stranger

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Looks like a Herald 110 / P4531 pro in the pics. Also know as the t-mobile mda wing in the US. I'll get me coat....

Price is a bit steep:

"The DBC costs between £4,400 and £5,400 depending on the size of Braille display required. "

And the actual braille pad looks quite cumbersome. How long before someone makes a combined device that has a coating similar to those pin-art thingys? Electromagnets could raise / lower the pin heads as required and it could be small enough to fit on the back of a herald say - probably only display word by word but a litlle more handy than this £5k device.

M.S

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#3
tsutton

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I agree the price is a bit steep, but with the limited market, I guess it's natural for the price to be high at the start and drop down later on. However most deaf-blind people get benefits/grants/sponsors to get the equipments they need without having to worry about the costs, they have access to it anyway. So it's a good thing. :)

The Braille pad design has not changed very much for many years which I believe is down to how much the people has learnt of their design, the locations of the buttons, the design of the device, etc. Many blind people do not like new changes because it takes many years to relearn everything so they're keeping it as standard as much as they can to make things easy for them.

There are many other designs to make thing more easier, like the Braille gloves for example, but it's still many years away before they can perfect it and go into the market.

Anyway, good eyes on the phone make & model. ;)

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- Tony Sutton
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