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President Obama Signs 21st Century Communications & Video Accessibility Act

President Obama Signs 21st Century Communications & Video Accessibility ActOn October 8th 2010, President Obama signed the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010 into law.

According to the Coalition of Organizations for Accessible Technology (COAT), the new law:

  • Provides definitions for “advanced communications” (including interconnected and non-interconnected voice over Internet protocol (VoIP), electronic messaging, and interoperable video conferencing services); “consumer-generated media”; and “disability.”
  • Requires telephones used with the Internet to be hearing aid compatible.

For a complete list of the items this law covers, visit the Coalition of Organizations for Accessible Technology.

Watch Video of President Obama Signing the 21st Century Communications & Video Accessibility Act below

One in Five U.S. Adolescents Has Hearing Loss

Listening to loud music from headphones can lead to permanent hearing lossAccording to new research from Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH), hearing loss among U.S. adolescents has surged. Quote from Hearing Mojo:

In findings published in this month’s Journal of the American Medical Association, the researchers analyzed data from two major surveys done by the National Institutes of Health, one done in 2005-2006 and the other done from 1988 through 1994. They found the rate of significant hearing loss — such as inability to hear soft sounds such as whispers or high-frequency sounds such as high musical notes or high-pitched voices — had increased among adolescents aged 12-19 from 14.9 percent in the first survey to 19.5 percent in the second, a 30 percent increase.

Read the whole story at Hearing Mojo

Sign Language Over Mobile Phones

blogHere’s an interesting article on the the “MobileASL” project at UW.

The MobileASL project at UW has been working to optimize compressed video signals for sign language. By increasing image quality around the face and hands, researchers have brought the data rate down to 30 kilobytes per second while still delivering intelligible sign language. MobileASL also uses motion detection to identify whether a person is signing or not, in order to extend the phones’ battery life during video use.

Click here to read the full article at GizMag.com

Check out the video below explaining the research and showing the phones in action

On Web Video, Captions Are Coming Slowly

blogHere’s an interesting article on the state of Web Video Captions:

The actress Marlee Matlin shimmied her way onto “Dancing With the Stars” two years ago, memorably using sign language to tell viewers to “read my hips.” But when Ms. Matlin, who is deaf, went to ABC.com to watch a replay of the show, she was impeded because the network’s videos were missing captions.
Closed-captioning is mandatory on television, but not for TV programs on the Internet. And that has turned Web sites like ABC.com into battlegrounds for advocates like Ms. Matlin, who have spoken up on the lack of captions on sites like CNN.com and services like Netflix.

Click here to read the full article at The New York Times

Baby’s reaction to cochlear implant being activated

blogWhat a great video!

8 month old deaf baby’s reaction to cochlear implant being activated: