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January 5, 2009

Technology to help the deaf communicate

RNID’s text-voice software enables the deaf to communicate through PCs

By CBR Staff Writer

The Royal National Institute for Deaf People (RNID) has launched a text-voice software that enables deaf and hard-of-hearing people to communicate with their hearing friends and family.

The RNID’s TalkByText Home Edition software can be installed on PCs for conversation with other PC, text-phone, or voice phone users. The software enables people with hearing impairment to send text messages to voice phones of their friends. They can also receive voice messages in the form of texts.

Guido Gybels, director of technology at RNID, said: Few things are more important to us than the ability to communicate. While the rest of society uses modern telephone technology such as mobile phones and the internet, deaf people have been overlooked as mainstream markets have failed to modernise text-phone technology. TalkByText Home Edition exploits internet technology to make a difference to people’s ability to communicate.

RNID says that it has developed the software to enable the hard-of-hearing people overcome the difficulty of communication with their acquaintances over long distances. Various applications of the software help the users keep in touch with their loved ones who are away and also with those who do not have access to a phone.

Founded in 1911 by a deaf merchant banker, RNID offers a range of services for the deaf. It takes up campaigns, provides services, training, products and equipment, and undertakes medical and technical research.

The Home Edition is the latest in the TalkByText package that includes Business, Mobile and Web editions. The business package enables organisations to be accessible to deaf and hard-of-hearing customers and staff.

TalkByText won the SustainIT 2006/07 National eWell-Being Award for ICT Innovation in the Third Sector and won a High Commendation at the 2007 Charity Times Awards.

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The downloadable version of the Home Edition is available at £34.95, while the boxed version comes at £39.95.

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