For most hearing impaired people, the inability to properly and precisely communicate with the hearing often leads to frustration, anger, and isolation. Unless a hearing person knows sign language, which is unlikely, the deaf are forced to communicate by pen and paper using a sort of pigeon English.
However, with the advancement of speech and other technologies, several solutions aiming to lower the communication barrier are hitting the market. Considering that there are roughly 250 million deaf people in the world, according to the World Health Organization, this is indeed welcome news.
MotionSavvy, a startup from Alameda, Calif., has just taken the wraps off UNI, an assistive device that features a tablet, smart case, and mobile app. Using gesture and speech recognition, sign language is converted to audio, and spoken word is translated to text in real time without needing a Web connection.
“Every aspect of interaction with a hearing person is difficult, to the point that we feel hopeless,” said Ryan Hait-Campbell, CEO and co-founder of MotionSavvy, in an email. “We feel so hopeless that there is nothing that can be done. We are trying to give deaf people the ability to live the life that they want without any limits.”