Some of you may be wondering what sorts of interesting technologies are used in daily life by members of the deaf community. There are some very creative technology tools for the deaf that coincide with the use of American Sign Language. For example, video phones! Deaf individuals used this type of technology long before it became more common with applications like Skype. By using a video phone to make sign language calls a deaf person can do everything from arrange appointments, to ordering take-out, to just simply communicating with a friend.
In addition to the possibilities of video, technology for the deaf includes a lot of different ways to send signals, such as flashing and vibrating alarms. Flashing alarms can alert a deaf person to everyday events like someone at the door or a phone ringing, but they also play an important role in safety when it comes to crossing streets or fire alarms. The prevalence of vibration to quietly get the attention of both hearing and deaf individuals is also on the rise and quite useful. You may ponder how deaf individuals are awakened in the morning? Vibrating alarm clocks can be placed under a mattress or pillow!
The deaf community certainly embraces the same technologies that everyone else does as well. Text messages are an easy way to contact friends, as well as using social-networking sites like Facebook or applications like Facetime on the iPhone to share and gather information.
So the next time you are heading out for the day, look at the world with a new perspective and perhaps you will start taking more notice of technologies that exist in your environment and how they might benefit the deaf. Ongoing innovations and technology for the deaf continue to broaden opportunities for the community. Keep on the alert for what is sure to be a growing list of assistive gadgets in the future!