It’s one of those things we take for granted each and every day: the ability to speak to others both in our immediate sphere of influence in addition to being able to speak to people over a mobile phone. Well now there is a report that the hearing impaired will soon be able to send sign language over cell networks. Apparently University of Washington Engineers are working on the first software for mobile devices that will enable American Sign Language to be sent out to others over U.S. based mobile networks.
As one might expect, the key is ensuring that the video quality used for sending American Sign Language is clear enough that communication will not be misinterpreted due to bad pixel blurs or other quality related problems. So why not simply rely on technology like the iPhone 4’s FaceTime? Simple: the new technology, being coined MobileASL, is able to produce the same results with ten times less bandwidth. That and I doubt it will be locked into Apple only phones, too.
The key to the future is finding ways to offer these same kind of results without sacrificing more bandwidth. With the existing efforts using MobileASL being so positive, it would be a shame to see it all go south when this sort of thing becomes available to tablet computing.
[Photo above by / CC BY-ND 2.0]
[awsbullet:learn american sign language]