Technology - Archive

CEA Foundation Awards Grant to Gallaudet University for Video Series on Effective Technologies for Consumers with Hearing Loss

August 26, 2014 in Technology

 

 

Arlington, VA – 08/25/2014 – The CEA Foundation, a charitable organization affiliated with the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA)®, announced its support for the Technology Access Program at Gallaudet University, in a grant to teach consumers with hearing loss about the effective use of their hearing devices with telecommunications technologies. With this CEA Foundation grant, Gallaudet plans to produce eight instructional videos during the course of the upcoming year-long project. This program will support the CEA Foundation’s mission of linking seniors and people with disabilities with technology to enhance their lives.

Read more . . . →

Deaf viewers fight for on-screen movie captions

August 21, 2014 in Captioning / Relay, Community News, Technology

 

 

Democrat & Chronicle, Rochester , NY
David Riley, Staff writer
August 18, 2014

A loose-knit group of deaf and hard-of-hearing people wants movie theaters in the Rochester area to more readily provide captions on-screen if patrons ask for them.

About 40 advocates took their cause to the Regal Henrietta Stadium 18 theater earlier this month, said Dean DeRusso, a Gates resident who is deaf and participated in the protest. Many people had difficulty using special captioning glasses provided by the theater or thought the devices were uncomfortable, while others found that there were not enough for everyone to use, he said.

DeRusso said he asked theater employees to activate on-screen captions instead, but was told that only upper management could do so.

In DeRusso’s view, that means that the region’s large deaf population is not getting equal access to the theater. An estimate by the National Technical Institute for the Deafin 2012 said that more than 40,000 people who are deaf or hard of hearing live in greater Rochester — among the largest per capita populations with hearing difficulties in the U.S.

DeRusso said the theater should turn on captions for any movie when at least one deaf or hard-of-hearing person attends.

Read More . . .

Learn More about Hearing Assistive Technology-Sept 14

August 21, 2014 in Community Events, Technology

 

HLAA

Learn More about Hearing Assistive Technology

Are you having difficulty fully participating in conversations with friends and colleagues? Are noisy restaurants (aren’t they all?), group discussions, telephone calls and formal presentations especially difficult and exhausting? Do you or family members worry that you won’t hear the smoke alarm, the phone or the alarm clock? Technology from hearing aids and cochlear implants to captioned and amplified telephones, loop systems, and other listening and alerting systems can make a world of difference.

Come and learn more. HLA-DC will host a presentation and discussion on hearing assistive systems by Dr. Zachary La Fratta, a locally-based audiologist who knows this rapidly evolving field well.

Date and Time: Sunday, September 14, 2014, 2:00pm – 3:30pm

Place: DC Public Library at Tenleytown (large meeting room), 4450 Wisconsin Ave NW, Washington, DC 20016 (less than a block from the Tenleytown Station on Metro’s Red Line)

CART and a looping system will be available for all attendees.

All are welcome.

Broadcast captioner explanation of work in humorous GIFs

August 21, 2014 in Captioning / Relay, Interpreting & Transliterating, Technology

 

 

 

A broadcast captioner has created a hysterically funny account of what it’s like to do what she does – sure to go viral if it hasn’t already:

http://frecklesandfizz.blogspot.com/2014/08/broadcast-captioner-gifs.html

Definitely something to pass on !

Cheryl

Petition to have Medicare cover hearing aids under HR 3150

August 14, 2014 in Advocacy & Access, Community News, Disability Law, Technology

 

 

Petition To Pass HR 3150

We need Congress to pass HR 3150 so that hearing aids are covered by Medicare.

To be delivered to The United States House of Representatives and The United States Senate

We need Congress to pass HR 3150 so that hearing aids are covered by Medicare.

PETITION BACKGROUND

Hearing aids should not be the new status symbol for the rich. The right to hear is a civil or human right.


Thanks to Janice Schacter Lintz, Chair, Hearing Access Program

How to enable subtitles and captioning for audio accessibility on iPhone or iPad

August 11, 2014 in Technology

 

 

How to turn on subtitles and closed captions in iOS

By Allyson Kazmucha,
Friday, Aug 8, 2014

There are lots of accessibility options available in iOS that makes using an iPhone or iPad easier for those with visual and hearing impairments. If you or someone you know suffers from auditory issues, one of those features is subtitles and closed captioning while watching videos. To use them, you’ve just got to enable them first.

Click Here to learn how

Live subtitles: How smart technology could help deaf people

August 7, 2014 in Captioning / Relay, Technology

 

 

BBC News
By William Mager
Original Article 

There are many new technologies that can help people with disabilities, like live subtitling 24/7 for deaf people, but how well do they work?

Deaf people always remember the first time a new technology came on the scene, and made life just that little bit easier in a hearing world.

I’ve had many firsts. Television subtitles, text phones, the advent of the internet and texting all opened up opportunities for me to connect with the wider world and communicate more easily.

After a while tiredness overtakes excitement and I take the headset off”

So when I first heard about Google Glass – wearable technology that positions a small computer screen above your right eye – I was excited. Live subtitling 24/7 and calling up an in-vision interpreter at the touch of a button. Remarkably both seemed possible.

That was a year ago. Since then, Tina Lannin of 121 Captions and Tim Scannell of Microlink have been working to make Google Glass for deaf people a reality. They agreed to let me test out their headset for the day.

First impressions are that it feels quite light, but it is difficult to position so that the glass lens is directly in front of your eye.

Once you get it in the “sweet spot” you can see a small transparent screen, it feels as though it is positioned somewhere in the distance, and is in sharp focus. The moment you get the screen into that position feels like another first – another moment when the possibilities feel real.

But switching your focus from the screen to what’s going on around you can be a bit of a strain on the eyes. Looking “up” at the screen also makes me look like I’m a bad actor trying to show that I’ve had an idea, or that I’m deep in thought.

The menu system is accessed in two ways. There is a touch screen on the side which can be swiped back and forth, up and down, and you tap to select the option you want.

Cochlear Implant Also Uses Gene Therapy to Improve Hearing

August 1, 2014 in Research, Technology

 

 

MIT Technology Review
By Katherine Bourzac
Article Source

The electrodes in a cochlear implant can be used to direct gene therapy and regrow neurons.

Researchers have demonstrated a new way to restore lost hearing: with a cochlear implant that helps the auditory nerve regenerate by delivering gene therapy.

The researchers behind the work are investigating whether electrode-triggered gene therapy could improve other machine-body connections—for example, the deep-brain stimulation probes that are used to treat Parkinson’s disease, or retinal prosthetics.

More than 300,000 people worldwide have cochlear implants. The devices are implanted in patients who are profoundly deaf, having lost most or all of the ear’s hair cells, which detect sound waves through mechanical vibrations, and convert those vibrations into electrical signals that are picked up by neurons in the auditory nerve and passed along to the brain. Cochlear implants use up to 22 platinum electrodes to stimulate the auditory nerve; the devices make a tremendous difference for people but they restore only a fraction of normal hearing.

“Cochlear implants are very effective for picking up speech, but they struggle to reproduce pitch, spectral range, and dynamics,” says Gary Housley, a neuroscientist at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia, who led development of the new implant.

Read more . . .

Deaf advocacy groups to Verizon: Don’t kill net neutrality on our behalf

July 31, 2014 in Disability Law, Technology

 

 

Verizon claimed Internet fast lanes will help deaf, blind, and disabled.

ars technica
by Jon Brodkin
July 22 2014
Article Source

No company has lobbied more fiercely against network neutrality than Verizon, which filed the lawsuit that overturned the FCC’s rules prohibiting ISPs from blocking and discriminating against Web content. But the absence of net neutrality rules isn’t just good for Verizon—it’s also good for the blind, deaf, and disabled, Verizon claims.

That’s what Verizon lobbyists said in talks with congressional staffers, according to a Mother Jones report last month. “Three Hill sources tell Mother Jones that Verizon lobbyists have cited the needs of blind, deaf, and disabled people to try to convince congressional staffers and their bosses to get on board with the fast lane idea,” the report said. With “fast lanes,” Web services—including those designed for the blind, deaf, and disabled—could be prioritized in exchange for payment.

Now, advocacy groups for deaf people have filed comments with the FCC saying they don’t agree with Verizon’s position.

“We also take this opportunity to express our concern over the reported contentions of at least one broadband provider that the Commission should facilitate ‘fast lanes’—essentially permitting paid prioritization—for the sake of accessibility,” the groups wrote . . .

Read more 

Can Digital Devices Replace Interpreters? by Lydia L. Callis

July 31, 2014 in Interpreting & Transliterating, Technology

 

 

Huffington Post
The Blog

Lydia L. Callis
Sign Language Interpreter, Community Educator, Advocate

Article Source

While walking the streets of New York, nearly every person I see is staring down at a screen, fully engaged with a digital device. Through technology, our world has become incredibly connected; yet disconnected at the same time. There is comfort in being able to communicate without regard to time or distance but somehow all this personal contact seems so impersonal, so two dimensional, so unnatural… Are we all truly eager to replace all human interaction with virtual realities?

Last week, the Internet was buzzing with news of a new device called Google Gesture, a wristband which could reportedly translate sign language into spoken language in real time. The viral clip turned out to be just a concept video released by a group of marketing students in Sweden, but it stirred up some interesting discussions about the role of technology in cross-cultural communication.

Although most deaf/HoH are content with their lives the way they are, it’s nice to imagine a world where everyone is able to communicate seamlessly, and deaf people are not excluded from certain spaces. Over the past 30 years, technology has been viewed as a solution to provide deaf individuals  . . .

Read More

New Interactive Studio Allows Deaf Children to ‘Hear’

July 29, 2014 in Hearing Loss & Deafness, Research, Technology

 

 

http://www.designntrend.com
by Osvaldo Nunez , Design & Trend Contributor
Article Source

In a spectacular merging of engineering and acoustics, The Cooper Union in New York City has created a unique learning environment for deaf and hearing-impaired children.

By installing an interactive light studio at the American Sign Language and English Lower School in New York City, the studio displayed entertaining images and graphics on an interactive screen. The pre-kindergarten children using the 270-square-foot space get to learn through their interactions with the moving images and light pulses and the displays allow them to actually understand the intricacies of sound, despite the fact that they can’t actually hear.

“We are creating a learning environment in which deaf and hearing-impaired children can explore and appreciate the various qualities of music and sound through the interplay of light and vibration,” said Melody Baglione, a professor at The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art. “We have developed technologies enabling the children to visualize sound.”

Read More  . . .

Fly-inspired tech could find use in better hearing aids

July 24, 2014 in Community News, Technology

 

Gizmag.com
By July 23, 2014
Article Source

When it comes to animals with good hearing, flies might not be the first one you’d think of. The Ormia ochracea fly, however, has a unique hearing mechanism that allows it to precisely determine the location of a cricket based on its chirps … it then deposits its larvae on the cricket, which ultimately consume the poor insect. Scientists at the University of Texas Austin have now duplicated that mechanism, with hopes that it could find use in applications such as next-generation hearing aids.

In the case of larger animals such as humans, the brain is able to ascertain the source of a sound based on the split-second delay between its being detected by the left and right ears. Insects, on the other hand, are so tiny that sounds register on both sides of their body almost simultaneously. Although they’re still able to “hear” by sensing vibrations made by sounds, they generally can’t tell where those sounds are coming from.

Ormia ochracea is different from other insects, however, in that it has a miniscule seesaw-like structure in the sub-2-mm space between its ears. Even in the four millionths of a second that it takes for a sound to pass through that space, it still causes the structure to vibrate, plus the sound undergoes a slight phase shift.

Like a full-size seesaw (or teeter-totter, if you prefer), any movements the structure makes are amplified by the fact that its two ends simultaneously move in opposite directions. This means that the phase shift will cause one side of the mechanism to dip noticeably lower than the other, thus letting the fly know the sound’s direction of travel. According to UT Austin’s assistant professor Neal Hall, it’s roughly equivalent to a person being able to locate the direction of the epicenter of an earthquake, by analyzing the delay between the tremors being felt by their left and right feet.

flyhearing

Hall and his team built a similar structure (seen above) that incorporates a flexible silicon beam suspended on two pivots. Integrated piezoelectric materials in four sensing ports convert mechanical strain in that beam into electrical pulses, allowing the device to simultaneously measure both the amount and direction of sound-induced flexing.

Additionally, at 2.5 mm, the device is only about one millimeter longer than its natural counterpart.

The scientists hope that once developed further, the technology could be used in compact low-power hearing aids that are are better able to discern conversations from background noise, along with possible military applications.

Read original article . . 

A paper on the research was recently published in the journal Applied Physics Letters.

Sources: American Institute of PhysicsUniversity of Texas Austin

 

 

 

 

 

Rocky Run Middle School – CyberRams win grant to develop APP

July 17, 2014 in Community Events, Technology

 

Fairfax County Public Schools
Article Source

The Rocky Run Middle CyberRams team is one of four teams nationwide to win a STEM-in-Action grant from eCybermission, an educational outreach program of the U.S. Army focused on using science, technology, engineering, and math to solve a real problem in the community. 

Team members Ravi Dudhagra, Diego Gutierrez, Rishabh Krishnan, and Adityasai Koneru developed a computer program—Decibel mApp—to address the problem of noise-induced hearing loss that uses GPS technology to provide users with a map showing decibel levels the user experienced throughout the day. 

Team members worked with a local pediatric otolaryngologist, the U.S. Department of Energy, the National Institutes of Health, and computer programming engineers to develop the app.  The CyberRams won the grant, worth up to $5,000, because their plans were determined to provide the greatest possible impact in their community, and hopes to have the final product ready to go to market in a year.

 

Thanks to Patience Battisti

Advocates for deaf, blind pressure Apple for more-accessible apps

July 17, 2014 in Hearing Loss & Deafness, Technology

 

 

Reuters
By 
Christina Farr
Monday July 14, 2014
Article Source

SAN FRANCISCO — Advocates for the blind are debating whether to use a carrot or a stick to persuade one of their oldest allies, Apple Inc, to close an emerging digital divide in mobile technology.

As digital life increasingly moves to the world of smartphones and tablets, some disabled people with visual, hearing and other impairments are feeling more left out than ever.

As baby boomers retire and age, the number of people needing help is multiplying. Many advocates for the disabled believe federal law requires that apps be accessible, but courts have not ruled on the issue. Few disabled want to risk alienating Apple, considered a friend, by fighting it.

Mobile apps that work well can transform a blind person’s life, reading email on the go or speaking directions to a new restaurant. Some young blind people no longer feel the need to learn Braille to read with their fingers, when Siri and other computer voices can do the reading instead. Captions on videos and special hearing aids bring hearing impaired into the digital fold.

But when apps don’t work, life can grind to a stop. Jonathan Lyens, a San Francisco city employee who is legally blind, has a hard time browsing for jobs on professional networking site LinkedIn.

“The app is insane. Buttons aren’t labeled. It’s difficult to navigate,” Lyens said. When it comes to social-media apps, new problems arise with every release, he said. “I get nervous every time I hit the update button.”

Read more . . .

The Sorry State of Closed Captioning

July 15, 2014 in Advocacy & Access, Captioning / Relay, Technology

Streaming video now must provide subtitles for the hearing impaired. There’s no guarantee of accuracy, though. One solution: crowdsourcing.

The Atlantic
    

Article Source 

Imagine sitting down to watch an episode of Game of Thrones—and hardly being able to understand anything. That’s the case for non-native English speakers or any of the 36 million deaf or hard-of-hearing Americans. HBO doesn’t expect its viewers to have a knowledge of High Valyrian; that’s why it takes care to offer subtitles to viewers understand exactly how Daenerys intends to free the slaves of Essos.

If only most online streaming companies took as much care in everyday captioning.

Machine translation is responsible for much of today’s closed-captioning and subtitling of broadcast and online streaming video. It can’t register sarcasm, context, or word emphasis. It can’t capture the cacophonous sounds of multiple voices speaking at once, essential for understand the voice of an angry crowd of protestors or a cheering crowd. It just types what it registers. Imagine watching classic baseball comedy Major League and only hearing the sound of one fan shouting from the stands. Or only hearing every other line of lightning-fast dialogue when watching reruns of the now-classic sitcom 30 Rock.

As of April 30, streaming video companies are now required to provide closed captioning. On all programming. There’s no doubt that we’re in a better place than we were even five years ago, when streaming video companies weren’t required to closed-caption any of its content.  But, there still is a long way to go in improving the accuracy of subtitles. Netflix and Amazon Prime users have bemoaned the quality of the streaming companies’ closed captions, citing nonsense words, transcription errors, and endless “fails.” These companies blame the studios for not wanting to pay for accurate translations but excuses aren’t flying with paying streaming video subscribers.\

Marlee Matlin, the Oscar-winning actress and longtime advocate for better closed captions for the deaf and hard of hearing, recently mentioned . . .

Read more  . . .