Deaf people get communication freedom with 'Ubi Duo'

Discussion in 'Deaf News' started by Miss-Delectable, Jun 14, 2006.

  1. Miss-Delectable

    Miss-Delectable New Member

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    http://www.gwinnettdailypost.com/in..._id=16105&url_subchannel_id=&change_well_id=2

    A frustrating conversation transformed the way Jason and David Curry communicate with each other today.

    "One Saturday morning, we went to breakfast, and during breakfast, we were trying to have a face-to-face conversation," said Jason, who is deaf.
    "We got so frustrated trying to talk to each other in sign language that Dad said to me, 'I have an idea.'"

    From that idea, the 36-year-old has developed and now is refining a device called the Ubi Duo, which he believes will overwhelmingly change the face-to-face communication between the deaf and hearing impaired and the hearing.

    "Ubi" stands for ubiquitous, meaning everywhere, and "Duo" refers to two people talking face-to-face. The device resembles two small basic computers that allow the deaf or the hearing impaired to communicate with anyone at anytime, without a third party, personal interpreter.

    It's portable, easy to use, battery-operated and wireless. The communication mimics text messaging and instant messaging.

    David Curry sketched the idea one evening in April 2001 at the family's home, and then he and Jason co-founded sComm Inc. to create over the course of five years a tool to bridge a communication gap that Jason struggled with as well as several other deaf and hearing impaired.

    "One of the biggest challenges that I have dealt with the last 12 years was simply getting hired for a job and having to show those hearing people that I was capable of doing the job as well as a hearing person. The only difference was I was deaf," said Jason, who was one of the first deaf students to graduate from Central Missouri State University in 1993.

    "The problem with deaf people is they have been dependent on interpreters all their lives, and this is the very first device that will give them the freedom to go anywhere without having to depend on an interpreter," he said.

    Jason also became the first deaf agent to be hired by Metropolitan Life Insurance Co. in Kansas City. He also worked as a Financial Operations Analyst for the U.S. General Services Administration. Jason has taken those experiences and now uses them to help others through sComm Inc.

    Donald and Lynn Garretson of Sedalia, Mo., were two of the 200 people Jason asked to test a prototype of the Ubi Duo. They said once they started using the device to communicate with each other, their children, family and friends, teachers at school and out in public, they experienced a freedom they had never really knew before.

    For example, Lynn said that before the Ubi Duo, her husband could only go to school on Monday and Friday, when the school had an interpreter available. Now, Donald can attend classes at Central Missouri State University any time he wants.

    "I feel free, and I enjoy it," he said.

    Lynn said the Ubi Duo has not only given her more freedom in her job, but it also enabled her to have deeper, more meaningful conversations with people, especially her friends.

    Jason has received two grants from the National Institutes of Health to collaborate and work with technology engineers, which has helped to finance the development of the device, which will be available by August or September to purchase.

    "The Ubi Duo will be everywhere, in a job setting, a social setting and other settings where there are deaf people, and you will see hearing and deaf people simply chatting with each other face-to-face over a cup of coffee without a third party having to interpret for them," Jason said.
     
  2. gnulinuxman

    gnulinuxman New Member

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    Neat! But isn't this supposedly what the cochlear implant is for? My fiancee would much rather use these than a cochlear implant, though. :D
     
  3. hootster

    hootster New Member

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  4. sr171soars

    sr171soars New Member

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    Naw, I rather have the CI...as you can see I'm rather biased... :whistle:

    Anyway, an interesting device. I hope that helps people.
     
  5. Nesmuth

    Nesmuth New Member

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    As long there's an interpreter shortage, people will be coming up with interesting ways to address it and deliver communication related products to the deaf communities.

    More products are on the way including some new gadgets that will debut at our 'enchanted garden of accessories' at our Orange County Fair booth next month.

    Richard
     
  6. gnulinuxman

    gnulinuxman New Member

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    hahaha...I recall you saying that deaf people depend on other people for communication needs (this "Big Deaf" thing you posted elsewhere)... Is there anything wrong with using this?
     
  7. sculleywr

    sculleywr Member

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    I Can see the use for them, but I do hope it doesn't put me out of a job when I graduate and get certified. I doubt they will though. There will probably be those deaf people who don't like the idea, or would rather have an interpreter, be it for personal or financial reasons. I know that some deaf students in my school (I think we currently have five deaf students in the 300 enrolled currently) have become pretty good friends with the interpreters, and request to have the same interpreter for as many classes as possible. Then again, one of the deaf alumni ended up marrying her interpreter.
     

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