Dec. 9, 2003 --
Improvements in technology that allow a person to work on a computer purely via eye movemet, and a real-time text display of spoken English for deaf students, have both made headlines recently. Both technologies show how close technology is to bridging the communication gap for people with disabilities.
The Eye Gaze system was originally developed for people with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), it is designed to use for people who can move only their eyes. Recently the BBC reported that a Spanish firm had won an award for its work on the system. The company, Iriscom explains that its product, also called Iriscom, moves the mouse pointer by tracking a person's eye movement and mouse clicks are performed by blinking. Iriscom costs about $7,200 but is not available in the U.S., Gaze Trackers in the U.S. are available from EyeTech digital systems for $4,000-$8,000 (online at http://www.eyetechds.com/homepage.html )
The National Technical Institute of the Deaf in Rochester, NY recently received 2 grants totalling $1.1 million from the U.S. Dept. of Education to test and evaluate its new C-Print Pro software, which allows communication between those doing real-time captioning and students via their computers. The new software, a newer version of the original C-Print, will allow students to highlight the real-time display of text and to take notes. "Some deaf and hard-of-hearing people prefer printed text over other support services like sign language interpreting or manual notetaking," said Pamela Francis, coordinator of C-Print Training and Development at NTID. "C-Print Pro is a dramatic improvement over the previous version of C-Print we developed 15 years ago."
C-Print Pro is "designed for rapid real-time communication of text between computers on a network specifically for providing support services with automatic speech recognition and/or a typing-based computerized word-abbreviation system. " To learn more about C-print, go to http://www.jsu.edu/depart/dss/terps/cprint.html
Read more about the concept at http://www.netac.rit.edu/publication/taskforce/realtime/