Visual Communications System

The purpose of installing VCS throughout a country is to better connect members of the Deaf community with the rest of its society. VCS establishes a network of interpreters, video communication software, and video communications devices that connect Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing individuals with those who are hearing. This system allows the Deaf to speak with anyone through an interpreter using their local sign language.

vcs

What it is: Our idea is to provide a communication system whereby the whole of society can integrate and interact with Deaf individuals, wherever and whenever it is needed: in houses of worship, in the classroom, on-site with coworkers, on the road, in a café, at the market, during an emergency or at an accident site, with the police, with doctors, with teachers, with scholars, etc.

This service will require setting up a call center where sign language interpreters will be able to receive calls from both Deaf and Hearing parties over high speed internet and interpret between sign and spoken language. Interpreters will be able to do this in real time and through three main mediums:

1. Face-to-face: A Deaf person connects to the interpreter at the call center, and uses sign over his own smartphone or tablet camera.  The interpreter speaks what is said via the speaker of the device connecting them to the Hearing person.

2. Voice over the phone:
a. Making a call: A Hearing person can dial a Deaf person’s number and the call will be re-routed through the call center. The Deaf person receives the call, sees the interpreter signing to him through his phone or tablet screen, and the Hearing person listens to the interpreter voicing the Deaf person’s responses immediately through the phone or tablet.

b. Receiving a call: A Deaf person can call any Hearing person, and the call is re-routed through the call center to that hearing person. The Deaf person signs through his phone or tablet camera and the interpreter voices what he says to the Hearing person’s phone or tablet. The interpreter then signs back the Hearing person’s response to the Deaf person.

3. Voice over text (voice carry over): A Hard-of-Hearing person who can speak but has problems hearing over the phone (and may not use sign language) would be able to send and receive calls with text interpretation of the conversation on their phone screen in real time. The elderly tend to benefit greatly using this service, as it eliminates the need to shout and gives them access to the telephone once again.
Integrating Deaf people into mainstream society is not only a basic right for Deaf people, but it is also a priority for society as a whole. This is not only beneficial for the Deaf, but also for an entire generation of elderly people who are losing their ability to hear and communicate verbally. Communication access cannot be oversimplified as services only for the Hearing impaired, but services that benefit every member of society, as Deaf individuals have a perspective that is needed as much as that of the Hearing. Once these individuals have communication access, society can harness their ability to give, learn, inspire and collectively dream of a better future.