April 01, 2004

sign language phones

Vodafone, one of the three leading mobile phone carrier in Japan recently announced the opening of a 5 story store in Shibuya, Tokyo. I don't get it; how the heck do you fill 5 floors of space with mobile phones? I know there's a menagerie of models, but.. c'mon, that's ridiculous.

Apparently, this new store is a kind of center for hearing disabilities. (OK, that's one floor taken care of; four more to go) What the heck does a deaf person need with help with using her phone? You can't talk, so you use the e-mail on it: simple as that! Sure, you could use a half-fortune sending live video over the camera while you sign language away with one hand while holding the phone in the other, but why not just send text? Pretty much everyone just sends text around here anyways.

Am I missing something here?! Maybe they just wanna help make more jobs.

On that note, vegetable prices at my local super have gone up; dammit!


uh, not all people with hearing disabilities are completely deaf. Some people are hard of hearing, and maybe need assistive technology to help them amplify the phone sounds. Also, there are telephones that deaf individuals use that are like text messaging machines, but they're probably designed for someone who uses it primarily for text messaging, versus people who use txt-messaging as a secondary feature.
Anyway, I'm sure phone technology will evolve to the point where we do have live web-cam type phone services mainstreamed in the future :), why not start now?

anyway :) hi, i just found your blog through kelly's webpage ~ ckcheng.com ~ so blame him for my long comment

#151 - Posted by: Julia at April 3, 2004 03:39 AM

Welcome to the talk, Julia!

Thanks very much for your comment. I believe the mobile phones for deaf people can be used to "convert" text to voice. It's kind of like those pager services where you call an operator and they convert it to text--except it's the opposite. I found out this is a service that's available in the UK.

In America, that would make more sense; but in Japan, everyone has e-mail on their phones.

Now, I think real-time communication is important, though; and this is probably what the hard-of-hearing cel services are for. E-mail isn't real-time, and dialing comes in necessary at times. Live video doesn't work to help communicate with non-sign language speakers. Hmm, I'm still not exactly sure what these hard-of-hearing services are.

Anyways, thanks for poking at this; I wouldn't have looked into it otherwise.

#152 - Posted by: Ivan at April 3, 2004 08:05 AM
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