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Researchers create mobile phones for sign language

Posted Dec 03 2009 12:41pm
phone sign language.jpg For those who are deaf or hard of hearing, mobile phone use has largely been limited to text messaging. But technology is catching up: Cornell researchers have created mobiles that allow deaf people to communicate in sign language - the same way hearing people use phones to talk.

"We completely take mobile phones for granted," said Sheila Hemami, Cornell professor of electrical and computer engineering, who leads the research with Eve Riskin and Richard Ladner of the University of Washington. "Deaf people can text, but if texting were so fabulous, phones would never develop. People prefer to talk."

The technology, Hemami continued, is about much more than convenience. It allows deaf people "untethered communication in their native language" - exactly the same connectivity available to hearing people, she said.

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