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Wednesday 14th April BBC2 1.30pm

SH Line Producer | 17:51 UK time, Wednesday, 14 April 2010

On today's programme we met deaf carpenter, Steven Heard. Although he's struggling to find full-time employment he's putting his carpentry skills to good use, keeping up his own spirits and raising money for a variety of charities.   When Steven left school he started an apprenticeship with a builders learning carpentry as his trade. He quickly qualified and even started his own business.  But business has slowed recently due to the recession so he and his wife have had to make tough decisions like selling the house.  To keep him busy and take his mind off work problems Steven hand makes toys, more specifically wooden vehicles.  It takes him about 3 days to make a lorry, a day and a half to make a dumper truck, and 2 weeks to make a campervan due to the detailing.  As they're hand-made they sell for over £100.  Steven would love to turn his hobby into a business but again in the current economy it's difficult.  He gives some of his toys to charity so that they can raise money for good causes. 


We caught up with parkour enthusiast Max Powell.  He first appeared on See Hear in 1985 when he was just three years old.  At that time he had recently been fitted with a cochlear implant.  We found out how his parents' decision has shaped his life over the last 15 years and why he has taken up the adventurous hobby of free running.  It's known as 'parkour' the French word for 'the art of moving' - it's a non-competitive sport and trains the body to use efficient movement and is very physically demanding.


If you're thinking of taking up parkour then please make sure you contact an established group.  For more advice about parkour, or to find a qualified instructor, or an accredited club please follow this link:  http://www.parkouruk.org/


We also found out if it's possible to teach a computer to lip-read and what would be the benefits if you could...?  Along with sign language, lip-reading is one of the most common ways for deaf and hard of hearing people to communicate.  Learning to lip-read is difficult as it's not just about recognising the different lip shapes; we look at, or 'read' the whole face.  Some letters for example look exactly the same on your lips e.g. "b" and "p".   See Hear visited a lip-reading class at WarwickshireCollege to ask students how they were getting on with learning lip-reading.  It's one thing teaching humans to lip-read but could a computer learn?  A research project at the University of East Anglia has been doing just that.  It's a purely scientific project at the moment but there could be practical applications.  One area they have been looking at is how humans compare with the machine in terms of accuracy.   The university machines are really only capable of reading a small vocabulary.  When only lips were shown speaking words the computer was more accurate than a human as it was able to read simple shape information.  Humans had to see the full video of someone speaking in order to lip-read.  If you remove context from sentences, body gestures, and head movements etc, it's very difficult, if not impossible for a human to lip-read.  John Cassidy was born profoundly deaf and works as a professional freelance lip-reader.  His work ranges from spotting football players' rude words for lads' magazines to watching CCTV footage for the police and attending court as an expert witness.  He's had many challenging cases.  For him, a human lip-reader can never be 100% accurate, it's believed that the most you can accurately read is about 60% as you miss some of the words and have to fill in the missing gaps using context to create the sentence.  John believes technology is assistive; a lip-reading computer could compliment and support a human-lip reader. 






  • Comment number 1.

    I found this week’s programme particularly interesting especially the story of Steven Heard. In the coming episodes I would like to see this face of Siemens campaign covered, which is detailed on Siemens.co.uk/hearing, especially if they are trying to find a new Kellie Moody and giving deaf individuals a chance to shine!


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