Providing a rich communication experience for everyone is a luxury that technology allows us. Design student Suhyun Kim wants to ensure that deaf people are able to have phone conversations with friends and family without relying on relay services, and her “Visual Sound” phone concept relies on technology that is already available and in use. Simply put, the phone would convert the deaf user’s typed words into spoken words on the other end. Then, when the person on the other end speaks into their phone, the Visual Sound phone converts their words into text.
The concept works in much the same way as a relay call, but without the third party listening in and typing/talking. This idea would afford a greater degree of privacy in phone conversations, but perhaps more importantly it would allow deaf individuals to place phone calls without a TTY machine or special phone service. Although many hearing impaired people choose to simply use text messaging these days, this isn’t always an option – especially when calling a business for information or communicating with a family member who isn’t comfortable with texting. This concept would allow a far greater amount of freedom for hearing impaired individuals, letting just about anyone have phone conversations whenever and wherever they please.