Thursday, January 31, 2008

Implant Sends Signals Right to the Brain

An implant that bypasses damaged nerves and forms a direct pathway to the brainstem is making it possible for some people to avoid total hearing loss. A tiny microphone on the ear sends the sounds to the processor and then to the brain. The surgery involves placing an auditory brain implant and small electrodes in patients who need removal noncancerous tumors associated with a particular disorder. The condition is called neurofibromastosis type II. If they tumors aren’t removed they may lead to complete hearing loss. So far, about 500 people have received the implants. One of the few surgeons who can implant the devices in the US is Dr. Bradley Welling at the Ohio State University Medical Center.

Super Bowl Ad

Check out the Pepsi ad set to run during the Super Bowl (more info below) Bob’s House

Student Arrested

Charges against an Iowa School for the Deaf student have been dropped after he was arrested for using threatening sign language. Police say the 18-year-old signed to a staff member at the Council Bluffs school that he was going to shoot people if he wasn’t allowed to go home.

New School President

Larry Taub has taken over as the new leader of the Pennsylvania School for the Deaf. Taub is 55 years old and is the school’s first deaf president in nearly two centuries. He’s replacing Joseph Fischgrund, who is retiring from the position. Taub has a masters in education of the deaf from New York University and a Ph.D. in educational administration from Columbia University.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Signing the Super Bowl

A professor of sign-language at Arizona’s Phoenix College will sign the national anthem while Jordin Sparks sings at Sunday’s Super Bowl. A Dreamer (yes, that’s his name) has always had his hearing but spent a year at Gallaudet University and even toured with a national theater for the deaf for two years. His name was originally Jon with a name sign of a "J" by the forehead but friends at Gallaudet switched it to the easier sign of “dreamer”.

Tiny Hearing Aids

The three main manufacturers of tiny hearing aids:

Monday, January 28, 2008

Silent Super Bowl Ad

American Sign Language will get prominent play as never before during next Sunday's Super Bowl. A commercial set to run will feature a joke that originates from the deaf community. The PepsiCo ad featuring deaf employees will play out on screen over 60 seconds of complete silence. Here’s the joke: Two guys are driving to a friend’s house to watch the Super Bowl but neither knows which house is his. They sit in the car, arguing, until one of them has an idea. He starts laying on the horn, and one by one, the houses light up and dogs start barking. But one house stays dark. That’s the house of their deaf friend.

Hearing Miraculously Restored

A British boy can regained his hearing after losing it a decade ago. A thick piece of cotton had been wedged inside his ear since he was a toddler. Eleven-year-old Jerome Bartens was enjoying a game of pool with his friends when the cotton wool bud came out.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Hearing Aid Fine

A Central Pennsylvania hearing aid company has agreed to pay $100,000 to resolve claims that it treated customers unfairly when they tried to return orders within a promised 30-day money-back period. Riverside Hearing Services in Camp Hill cut the deal with the state's Attorney General office.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Text Radio

A new devise could show deaf people what’s being said over the radio. It’s a product developed by the Harris Corporation and involves a receiver and screen that would scroll text much like closed captions roll by on TV. The feature has the backing of National Public Radio. NPR put a prototype text radio on display at the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. The text-scrolling service will use the new HD Radio technology. When radio broadcasters switch from analogue to digital, they get extra bandwidth to use for other transmissions. Texting is just one of the possibilities. To begin with, the radio text service would operate like closed captioning, where someone will type what is being said on the radio into a computer system in real time. One of the big manufacturers of HD Radios, Radiosophy, plans to produce a tabletop radio this fall, capable of providing the transcripts. Listeners will have to sign up and register their radios in order to get an unlock code sent to their radios that will activate the reception. Congress granted a conditional access exemption from most copyright laws for the deaf, so they aren't in violation for receiving copyrighted material in a usable format.

New Videophone

Viable Inc. has developed a new wireless videophone called the VPAD. Gallaudet alum John Yeh created the device and unveiled it at the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. While the technology does not break any new ground, it integrates it in a unique way. The VPAD is a video phone about the size of a small notebook with a 10.2-inch touch screen. It supports two-way video conferencing at 30 frames per second. The system will work with any broadband Internet connection, but is designed specifically for use with WiFi networks. One extra the VPAD offers is that can be used as a digital picture frame when it is not being used as a videophone. VPAD is in beta-testing now and will be released commercially later this year.

IM Tool for the Deaf

AOL has unveiled instant messaging software that will function in a way familiar to users of TTY devices. It lets users see each letter IM users type in real time, rather than waiting for a friend or buddy to press the Enter or Return key. The beta version of AIM 6.8 was developed with help from Gallaudet and the Trace Research and Development Center at the University of Wisconsin. To try the new feature, select Real-Time IM inside an instant messaging window or you can select a buddy from the Buddy List and press Control-R.