Telecommunications Bridging between Deaf

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10 Δεκ 2013 (πριν από 3 χρόνια και 8 μήνες)

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Telecommunications Bridging between Deaf
and Hearing Users in South Africa

Meryl Glaser

Department of Health and Rehabilitation

Faculty of Health Sciences

University of Cape Town

mglaser@uctgsh1.uct.ac.za


William D. Tucker

Bridging Applications and Networks Group (BANG)

Department of Computer Science

University of the Western Cape

btucker@cs.uct.ac.za




CVHI 2004, Granada, Spain June 29
-

July 2, 2004

Overview


There is a
whole range of developed world possibilities.

The

South African Digital Divide

strongly influences
telecommunications for the Deaf.

Based on these Digital Divide conditions, we have come up
with
social and technical innovations.

These innovations are conceptualised in an
abstract Internet
-
based communications framework called the SoftBridge.

One of the applications of the SoftBridge is a semi
-
automated
relay for Deaf Telephony.

We are trialing this application in the field at the Deaf
Community of Cape Town.

Introduction

Proliferation of options for Deaf telecommunications


Multi
-
modal communications on the Internet: text, voice & video


Multi
-
functional and wireless devices: PC, Personal Digital Assistant
(PDA), mobile handsets, text telephones


Convergence of the telephone network & Internet

These solutions work when both Deaf and hearing users use the same


Capabilities


Modalities


Service interfaces


Devices


Networks

Differences in any of these require some form of bridging


Bridging for the Deaf via Relay

Telephone and
cellular mobile

Internet

Text

text telephone

TTY

Chat

Instant Messaging

Sign language

Video
Conferencing

Web video
conferencing

Relay Operator
bridges voice
to/from with

Pre
-
requisites Components

Awareness

Availability

Accessibility

Affordability

Appropriateness

Network Access

Landline,
mobile
,

Internet access, broadband

End
-
user Devices

mobile devices
: cellphone, PDA

PC, laptop, videophones

User Interfaces

Software and hardware interface

Communication
Modalities

text, voice &
video

Human & automated relay

User Capabilites

Sensory,
Sign Language
, Text & ICT literacy

Local South African Digital Divide


Population 45 million


45% rural


Mixed developed and developing world


14 million cell users, 4 million landline


2 of 3 sharing handsets or using
community phones


50% of households have no phone in
dwelling


10% have no access to a phone at all


Legacy of differentiated access





Another Example: The Phone Gap

Global Digital Divide

Per 100 people

Phone/cell

41

143

PCs

7.26

40

Internet users

6.82

42

2002 figures from unstats.un.org/unsd/databases.htm


South African Deaf Demographics

Estimates range from 4 million to 380,000


Depends on definitions of severity


Deaf here means South African Sign Language (SASL) as
the preferred language

Deaf community


30% of Deaf adults are functionally illiterate


65% of all Deaf adults are unemployed


Many are underemployed


Impacts on socio
-
economic status

All adds up to little or no ICT access or literacy


Deaf Telephony in South Africa

Deaf people have little or nothing at all


3
rd

party mediation over the telephone network

Teldem


Extremely small connectivity circle (650 at best)

SMS on cellphones, even landlines (coming!)


Not synchronous or reliable


Expensive

TISSA


Telephone Interpreting Service South Africa


6 month government
-
funded pilot finished

Email, Instant Messaging, Video Conferencing


Digital Divide issues: access, literacy, expense


No relay service

Motivation for our Approach

In light of the South Africa situation, our aims are to:


Increase connectivity options to the Deaf


Provide synchronous communication


Fully automate the relay


Provide low
-
cost solutions


Offer multi
-
media and multi
-
functional capacity


Support mobility


Establish community
-
based rather than individualist
model

The SoftBridge concept

Device

Interface

Modality

User

Device

Interface

Modality

User

Network

Network

Abstracted communication system

Semi
-
synchronous


Synchronous when possible


Asynchronous otherwise


Inspired by Instant Messaging, SMS and email

Device

Interface

Modality

User

Device

Interface

Modality

User

Network

Network

Deaf User

Hearing User

voice

audio

handset

Telephone

text

GUI

PC

Internet

Spoken English

Written English

A softbridge application: Deaf Telephony

Semi
-
automated relay with an Instant Messaging delivery system

Examples


Hearing user intiates conversation


Deaf user initiates conversation


Field Trials with end
-
users

Pilot trials with ICT
-
literate Deaf user in the lab

Recent activity with the Deaf Community of Cape Town


Installed community PCs in the Deaf community centre


Trained 20 Deaf people in basic ICT skills


Added Wizard of Oz functionality to combat poor
Automatic Speech Recognition


System instrumented to collect system and user usage
metrics


Future Work

Action Research and software development cycles to change &
improve functionality and interfaces for Deaf and hearing
end
-
users

South African Sign Language

with video as a bridged modality

Mobility

with Wireless LAN (WiFi) and GSM/GPRS


PDAs (Personal Digital Assistants, e.g. Palm, Pocket PC)


Cellular handsets

Guaranteed delivery of messages, e.g. emergency services

Carrier
-
grade functionality to make service attractive to
service providers


Sponsors and Partners

Muchas gracias: Deaf Community of
Cape Town participants, John
Lewis, Jason Penton

mglaser@uctgsh1.uct.ac.za

btucker@cs.uct.ac.za