This week Daryl Jackson and his intrepid team of technology-loving reviewers take a look at several gadgets that are on the market and have functionality for deaf and hard of hearing users.
First of all former Grange Hill star, Rebecca-Anne Withey takes a look at the Sony Playstation Portable (PSP). Although there are many other handheld games consoles on the market such as the Nintendo DS, the PSP is the only one that is being utilised by a deaf school for educational applications rather than the usual gaming.
Next up Charles Herd takes a look at the Sony Touch Reader electronic book. These electronic books are great for carrying around a library of reading material, much in the same way that mp3 players have become portable music libraries. They are as usable for deaf and hard of hearing users as they are for hearing users. We reviewed the Touch Reader as it is widely available from most consumer electric retailers. However, there are many other alternatives out there such as the Amazon Kindle 2 which is available on import fromwww.amazon.com and various other brands such as the Cool-er, Elonex and BeBook which are available from selected retailers.
Hannah Evans then takes a look at various time-keeping gadgets with functionality for deaf and hard of hearing users. She looks at the Sonic Boom Sweetheart vibrating alarm clock, with its unique styling and also the Vibralite vibrating wristwatch. These gadgets plus many other alternatives are available from the RNID shophttp://www.rnid.org.uk/shop/
Finally Stephen Collins takes a look at applications on the iPhone and tests their usefulness for deaf and hard of hearing users. He tests the London Tube augmented reality navigation application by Presselite, the Tom Tom satellite navigation application and also the Proloquo2Go application with its unique symbol and text-to-speech functions. Although the Proloquo2Go application is only available on the iPhone and iPod Touch, the other applications are available or have similar counterparts on most smart phone platforms such as Android, Blackberry, Nokia Symbian, Palm and Windows Mobile. These will be available through your smart phone provider. On the iPhone platform there are over 100,000 applications also available which you can find through Apple's App Store.
Beyond the gadgets reviewed there are many other bits of technology out there for deaf and hard of hearing users. From new-style text phones through to loop systems for home entertainments systems. The RNID shop is a great place to find many of these.
And what does the future hold? Full captioning is just about to appear on YouTube, but even cooler than that could be spectacles with built-in real time subtitling! And even vibrating shoes which could help you to dance! Be sure that when these gadgets finally see the light of day See Hear will be sure to check them out.