The deaf and hard-of-hearing are no longer tied to just their teletypewriter (TTY) devices for telephone calls. The Sorenson VP-100 videophone now makes these calls as simple as turning on the TV. It also enables real-time communication that conveys emotion and body language as well as words.
The VP-100 sits on top of the TV. To make a call, the user activates it and calls the Sorenson VRS Relay Center. Certified American Sign Language (ASL) translators at the center then call whomever it is the user wants to speak with. The VP-100 broadcasts the user's gestures to the ASL translator, who translates them to the called person. After that, the translator uses ASL to convey the message back to the user, who watches the translator on the VP-100's TV.
Operation is simple. The VP-100 requires a TV with a video input and a broadband Internet connection like DSL, cable, local-area network, or a T1 line. It outputs 30 frames per second, which is more than adequate for capturing and displaying rapid hand movements. Also, users can enlarge these images to the entire size of their TV screens without any loss in picture quality. Similar PC solutions narrow the view to a much smaller window.
There is no cost for calls completed through the center, and the VP-100 is available free of charge to users who meet licensing and other guidelines. For more, go to www.sorensonvrs.com.