Music and dance are such universal parts of the human experience. They are fundamental to who we are. So, why is it that so many people assume the Deaf or hearing impaired community aren’t a part of these vibrant forms of expression?
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The room fell quiet as Samantha Figgins began to dance. She contracted and extended, each gesture ripe with meaning. One moment she crouched in seeming defeat, and the next she stood tall, then whirled with unmistakable joy.
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A new iPhone app for the hearing impaired recently hit the market late last year. Deaftel Wireless uses state of the art technology to convert a hearing person’s voice into a text message and a deaf person’s text response into a voice during a phone call. iphone users need only to visit the Deaftel website and sign up using their phone. The service is $5 per month.
What makes this innovation interesting is that the founder, Kunal Batra, did not initially set out to create a phone service for deaf people. He was working on an Indian Social Network, and one weekend decided to enter into a programming contest, where he could create a chat connected to a phone number. What happened as a result of this idea was the conversion of voice to text and text to voice. This is how Deaftel was born. After many emails from the deaf community seeking this product, Batra decided to focus on the app fulltime.