Pratt student Suhyun Kim created the Visual Sound mobile phone, destined to reach the hands of hearing impaired uses. The device is able to convert voice input to text and text input to voice. Visual Sound comes with two pillars that you’ll grab hold of and they’ll scroll sideways, revealing a roll-out display. We wonder if the screen is flexible and judging from the photo it seems to be, so this is a pretty innovative gadget. Its prototype is based on a design of a scroll with sleek and smoothly finished design giving it quite a futuristic hi-tech look. Using this concept cellphone is fairly basic: you input text via the touchscreen display and it gets converted to voice, reaching the person at the other end of the line. Simply great! 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. If the Visual Sound concept ever got put into production, it might help when phoning from noisy locations.
But there will be problem when the normal speaker speaks a lot while the text on the screen are limited to several hundred words, and the time needed by the impaired person to reply back to the normal recipient. This might become the major drawback on this concept, but nevertheless, possibility always exist. Sounds a bit time consuming and perhaps a bit frustrating to use, but allows for easier conversation than text messaging back and forth. It’s not clear what materials are proposed for screen but let’s not let a little detail like that get in our way. But nonetheless, this concept is definitely an innovative one, designed with a really noble intent. We have seen Nokia working on similar concepts for the blind, hope these companies can collaborate and speed up the research in this direction.