San Francisco Chronicle Looks At iSight/iChat AV As Communication Tools For The Deaf

Since Apple released its iSight FireWire camera and a public beta of its iChat AV videoconferencing software in June of this year, long- (and short-) distance communication has been revolutionized for many people. Weire not just talking about geeks and those who crave new toys, either; according to an article at the San Francisco Chronicle, the iSight/iChat AV combo has been a boon for the deaf and hard of hearing.

Previously, clumsy TTY machines had to be lugged around for telephone conversations to be possible, and communication from a computer was limited to e-mail and instant messages. iChat AV allows deaf people to communicate using the language that they use on a daily basis: sign language. From the San Francisco Chronicle:

For Melvin Patterson, who has been completely deaf since he was a toddler, communication is a visual experience.

In the past, conducting a conversation using traditional nonvisual telecommunications tools like telephones and pagers was frustrating. Text messages or sign language conversations on jittery Web video screens were a pale substitute for a face-to-face exchange.

But that changed dramatically when Patterson tried iChat AV, new videoconferencing software, and iSight, a new Web camera, which Apple Computer Inc. introduced during the summer.

"When my girlfriend and I were able to talk to each other using iChat with iSight, I canit describe the feeling I had,ii the Chicago film school student said in an e-mail to The Chronicle. "Iim sure it is the same feeling people had long ago when the telephone was invented, being able to hear someoneis voice with all their inflections from a distance."

You can read the full article at the San Francisco Chronicleis Web site.