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Two New Mobile Devices To Use Video Relay Services

Two new products will allow people who are hard of hearing or deaf to have the same mobile options as their hearing counterparts. On Monday January 31, 2011, at a news conference conducted in American Sign Language at Rochester Institute of Technology’s National Technical Institute for the Deaf, technology company Sorenson Communications announced ntouch PC and ntouch Mobile. They turn laptops and cellphones into videophones with the same Video Relay Service technology now used by deaf individuals to place calls.

Sorenson is the largest provider of Video Relay Service, which allows deaf individuals to place calls using a videophone device called the VP-200. The VP-200 sits on top of a television set, and an interpreter appears on the TV screen to speak English to the hearing party, then relays their answers through sign language to the deaf individual.

With ntouch PC, a computer or laptop can be turned into a videophone. The software is free and works with any Internet or wi-fi connection. Ntouch Mobile is compatible with the HTC EVO phone on the Sprint network. It turns the cellphone into a videophone with features such as SignMail and e911. It even lets users set special vibration and flash patterns for different callers with the myRumble feature, essentially the equivalent of the ringtones hearing people use to identify callers.

The Americans with Disabilities Act mandates that individuals who are deaf or hard-of-hearing have access to products that are functionally equivalent to what the hearing community enjoys. Because it is a federal mandate, Sorenson is reimbursed by the Federal Communications Commission, allowing the company to provide services free of charge for deaf individuals.

For the entire article see: Devices Allow Mobility for Deaf Users


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