Month: January 2014

Cochlear Implant


An interesting 2 sided discussion on having or not having a cochlear implant.


Martha’s Vineyard

Vikings first founded the island in 1000 A.D, in 1524 a second explorer from Italy landed and names the island Claudia. An English Man, Bartholomew was the third explorer to land, he named the island Martha’s Vineyard after his mother, and because there were plenty of grape vines on the land. Bartholomew settled the first colony on Martha’s Vineyard.

700yrs later a deaf settler, Jonathan Lambert made Martha’s Vineyard sign language (MVSL) evident across the island. Throughout the generations 2 out of every 4 children were born deaf. This lead to the island being half deaf and half hearing. Living together was easy as everyone knew sign language, their were no problems and no discriminations towards one another. Sign language was used by all, not solely for the deaf. Being deaf wasn’t seen as a disability… it was simply a genetic difference such as eye or hair colour.

Unfortunately today, Martha’s Vineyard is no longer a deaf utopia. Most of the deaf community have left, as family members moved to mainland for education. American School for the Deaf, in Hartford, Connecticut opened and many left the island. Teachers at this school were using French sign language and the students mainly used MVSL…. this eventually mixed to form modern American Sign Language, ASL. Deaf community began on mainland.

America have Martha’s Vineyard to thank for their community and language, it has flourished into todays society and has helped make ASL a recognised language.

Gentex Smoke Detector With Strobe For The Deaf


This smoke detector, for deaf and hard of hearing has built-in strobe lighting for better alert if a fire arises. It can be bought for $82 on Amazon, but prices can go as high as $142. Expensive right?

Meanwhile take a look at other technologies of this same era…

nest 1

‘Nest’ is a thermostat designed via Apple. It is a small device, sleek and attractive, petit in size, placed neatly on a wall. It is however, currently retailed at $249, but price is likely to drop the longer this product is on market.

nest 2

Nest can also be controlled via a smart phone, enabling the user to access it at any given time.

Although these products work in completely different ways, there is no reason why the smoke detector could not function in a similar way. The smoke detector for deaf/ hard of hearing could be reduced in size, and made more pleasing to the eye like many other products on offer. It too could be linked to a mobile device such as a phone to alert the user when a fire has broken out.

For too long products tailored for deaf and hard of hearing have been neglected, it would be great to see these be updated and refreshed too! Would you like to see products such as the smoke alarm changed and updated? 

For more information on the Nest design check out:

Derrick Coleman

Deaf NFL Seattle Seahawks Player

“That’s just the way I approach my life,” Coleman told FOX Sports. “Every day I wake up and I get a chance. I always say that God blessed me this morning and I can do what I do. Our time in this world is very limited. It can be gone now or it can be gone later so I take advantage of every opportunity I have whether it’s playing football, working or whatever. I’m just a happy guy.”


Remote Computing Reimagined

Remote Computing 



Why am I looking at remote computing systems you ask?…. I’m not, don’t panic..

solo_03 solo_04 solo_05 solo_06 solo_07

Solo Designer: Alexander Morrison

“Solo”, as you can see is a portable device which offers the user access to a remote projecting desktop.
This device caught my eye as I am intrigued by 2 things;
1. Its portable
2. It projects
Not only does it project but it has touch- surface inputs allowing engagement with the information. This is ideal for business to take place outside of the office… away from the desk/ meeting and into a different environment.
However, I am not interested in it providing access to computing options… but rather communication access.
Imagine this device as a sign language interpreter allowing full access at any time of the day. Having a projection device would allow you, the user, to see directly in front of you in any scene. It could be possible to have an electronic interpreter with you.
A problem which may arise with this device, in terms of working with my idea. Direction- how is the image projected? It may not always be practical to have something projected directly on a wall in front of you. Perhaps a holographic image would work best…. taking 3D form, rather than flat against a surface.
Anyway…. Its a start to the thinking!



Deaf couple angry with hospital over lack of interpreter during birth of son

This was an article from ‘The Guardian’ today!
Couple says University College hospital, London, failed to provide them with information hearing patients would receive….
The Guardian, Sunday 19 January 2014 15.17 GMT
Deaf couple angry with hospital over lack of interpreter during birth of son

Hulusi Bati, Nadia Hassan and their five-week-old baby Yusuf. Photograph: Graham Turner for the Guardian

A deaf couple have criticised a hospital for failing to provide them with a sign language interpreter during the traumatic birth of their son, which they say left them uninformed and added to the ordeal.

Hulusi Bati, 32, and Nadia Hassan, 28, claim the lack of communication, both during the birth and Hassan’s 10-day stay at University College hospital, London, post-birth, amounted to discrimination, as they were not given the information that a hearing patient would have received. TheBritish Deaf Association (BDA) said the case reflects the experience of many deaf people within the NHS, two out of three of whom have asked for an interpreter at a hospital appointment and not got one, according to a 2012 survey.

The couple from Camden, north London, first went to hospital on 7 December when Hassan was experiencing stomach pains. There was no interpreter available, forcing them to rely on Bati’s 12-year-old daughter to interpret sensitive conversations.

When they returned the next day, a British Sign Language interpreter had been booked but left before 8pm and Hassan went into labour shortly before 9.30pm. There were complications and their son was eventually helped out with forceps.

“There was a lot of panic and they brought in my wife’s sister-in-law to interpret but she’s not an interpreter at all,” said Bati. “She only knows the basics so there was no accurate medical information. I felt completely at a loss. I wasn’t part of it. After the birth they took the baby away straight away and started putting injections in his foot. I wanted to hold my baby but the doctor said no. When I followed him and asked if the baby was OK he just gave me the thumbs-up sign.” He said that the details of injections given to his wife and son were not communicated.

Hassan remained in hospital until 16 December. For the vast majority of the time, including doctor’s rounds and breastfeeding instruction, no interpreter was provided, Bati said. “During breastfeeding, the midwife was trying to move my wife’s head around,” he said. “The midwife was basically manhandling my wife. I kept asking where’s the interpreter and they said they kept saying ‘he’s coming’ but he never came.”

Bati said staff lacked awareness, making little effort to speak slowly to facilitate lip reading and sometimes poking them to get their attention in a manner he deemed rude. He said the midwives’ manager had apologised for the couple’s experience but it was not enough.

“I’d like them to provide a 24-hour service for access to interpreters,” he said. “For example, if there was an emergency how would they communicate with them? People must be able to access the health services on a par with hearing people.” He said he is taking legal advice. The Equality Act 2010 says that if someone is at a substantial disadvantage of accessing services because of a disability, reasonable adjustments must be made to allow access.

A spokesman for UCLH foundation trust said it aimed to provide the most comprehensive support possible to patients who need BSL interpreting services and works with a service provider to supply face-to-face interpreters but that this is not always possible in emergency or obstetric cases that arise at short notice.

He added: “Despite every effort, our partner had limited availability and was unable to meet all of our requests for an interpreter on this occasion. However, they were able to provide some interpreting services regularly during the couple’s stay.”

He said that the couple’s complaint was being investigated as part of a formal complaints service but the hospital had already taken steps to complement its existing face-to-face interpreting service with a 24-hour electronic interpreting service.

Last year, a number of organisations launched the Our Health in Your Hands campaign, which asserts that deaf people have a right under equalities legislation to an interpreter in healthcare settings.

Paul Redfern, business development manager at the BDA and its representative on the campaign, said: “It’s very worrying that, in this day and age when so many of us take access for granted, there is still a minority community in this country that’s struggling to get the full information about their own health.

“Lack of proper access provision leads to misdiagnosis, delays in appointments and wrongly prescribed medication, and all of this is an extra burden on the NHS in terms of real costs so it would make a lot more sense if we had good access provision.”


When reading this I thought I had gone back in time! I have highlighted in bold key pieces of information which stuck out to me. It is alarming, out of every 3 people requesting for an interpreter only 1 got an interpreter for hospital appointments. In this case, the couple relied on their 12yr old daughter to act as interpreter! An interpreters role can be difficult at times when having to share sensitive news. Bare in mind however, it is often more frustrating for a deaf person having to rely on an interpreter to communicate in situations as 3rd party. We humans appreciate privacy, hearing and deaf! How would you feel having to share all information via another person.

Don’t get me wrong, interpreters (most) do a fantastic job…. but wouldn’t it be amazing to see an additional electronic device which could step in during times like these, like this article said … “provide a 24-hour service for access to interpreters”.

Saddened for this couple having gone through this ordeal, but I have hope that there will be change in the near future!

Is there such a thing as a Universal Sign Language?


To try for yourself go to …..  ……. This is the website that designer Junto Ohki talks about in this video. Using a keyboard style search engine you can select hand shapes and patterns to learn the signs you may see and not know. You can search in your own language and see also how it can be signed in other languages.

What are your thoughts?

Deaf in the military

Keith Nolan

31- year- old, deaf teacher, Keith Nolan, is determined to achieve his lifetime dream of working in military intelligence. After a decade of applying repeatedly, Keith Nolan was finally accepted into the Army’s Reserve Officers Training Corps’ (ROTC) program, after a commander agreed to let him sit in on the classes.

However military policy requires cadets to pass a hearing test to be commissioned by the Army. Nolan was distraught when he had to say goodbye to the other cadets when the course ended in May 2010.

 ‘All I really want to do is join the Army. I want to do my duty, serve my country and experience that camaraderie, and I can’t, owed to the fact that I’m deaf.’

 Nolan, who was born deaf to deaf parents, has wanted to join the Army ever since he learned of the experiences of his grandfather and great uncles who fought in WWII.
Keith Nolan, right, and his interpreter, Rita Alexander, left, use sign language to communicate

Congresman Rep. Henry A. Waxman is working to help, Nolan wants Waxman to sponsor a bill allowing deaf people into the armed forces.

This is a prime example when deafness and hearing loss becomes restrictive due to the fact that there is nothing suitable in place. “People are therefore disabled by the society they live in, not directly by their impairment. Which is an argument for using the term disabled people.” Graham Pullin- Author of Design Meets Disability.

Listening to Keith Nolan, and many others, drives my passion to see a device manufactured, allowing full access communication between both hearing and deaf!

You can responded and support Nolan on his Facebook page, ‘Commission Cadet Nolan Now.’ Link for this is found at;