Sunday, November 11, 2012

What Would Technology Look Like For Our Kids?


Back in July, when I was still pregnant; I took a walk with my husband and our dog, Layla, and we were talking about our child's pending arrival. Out of the blue, I said to my husband, "Hey do you know what is cool? One day, we will be able to tell Forrest that we lived before the internet was invented! Imagine all that stuff we will tell Forrest--how big of a tube our TV was, how big our computer monitor was, and all that!" Stu smiled and nodded his head. I continued to talk geek shop with him about technology growing smaller and smaller over the years. On top of this, what technology was going to look like when Forrest came to be our age one day? 

That conversation came up in my mind from time to time. It got me thinking about how things have changed and how great they are for Deaf people. 

Closed Caption Decoder Box

Old Caption Box Decoder

One day when I was about five or six years old; Mom came home with a box in her hands, and she walked up to the TV. She busied herself to install the strange looking box to our TV. I stood there, unsure what Mom was doing, and asked her. She told me to wait for it. I fidgeted for a few minutes. The characters on TV babbled as their mouths opened and closed, completely foreign to me, and I found myself losing interest. Mom finished pressing the buttons on the box and sat back. She told me to watch the TV screen. Suddenly, a black text with white words popped on the screen. Fascinated I cocked my eyebrow, and realized that it was relaying what the characters were saying on the TV! Mom smiled at me and nodded her head then said, now you can understand what is going on. I broke into a big smile. I was so excited to be able to watch TV and not have to ask my brother constantly what was going on during the TV show. 

Within a few years after we had our caption decoder box, we no longer needed a box to
have CC to show on the TV. 

By the time I turned 8 or 9 years old, my aunt and mom purchased a new TV that had a V-Chip inside to enable closed caption without needing a caption decoder box, and that made our lives easier. No longer did we need to replace our old CC box or install and have more wires in the mess. It was more accessible, neater, and quicker. All I had to do was press menu on the remote and turn CC on. When I went over to my hearing friends' house; it was easier for them too because all they had to was turn CC on through remote, and there was no need for a pesky CC decoder box. 


What you didn't think Deaf people had a way to talk on phone? 

I was in 4th grade when I got this new phone called TTY: Telecomunication Typewriter for the Deaf. It was awesome thing ever! I was able to call people through Relay Service. The only pitfall it came with was a huge lag time because I had to type what I wanted to say to the other person on the other line then that interpreter had to voice what I was typing to a hearing person. When a hearing person was talking, the interpreter had to type what he/she is saying and I was was able to read what he/she is saying. That process did take a while, and I was often hung up on because the hearing person was not sure if I was still "talking" or if I was done talking. Not really fun. I didn't really use this device much because of time lag, and I was not that interested in using TTY very often. 

I have the exact same phone!

It was not until I was in graduate school, around 23 years old, when I learned about videophones. It definitely made my life much easier! No more lag time. Thank goodness for that. All I had to was sign to the screen where the webcam was and the interpreter was able to translate what I had to say while I was signing to a hearing person on the other end of the phone line. Then the interpreter was able to sign at the same time while the hearing person was speaking to me. Loved it. It made the conversation smoother, and go faster. The hearing person appeared to be less frazzled by this method compared to using TTY. I didn't get hung up on as frequent as I did with TTY. Geez.

Then there's texting! Oh my gosh, that made my life even easier too. I loved being able to text and communicate with my family, my husband, and my friends.

The only thing I would really love to change is the drive through restaurants. I still can't even do that. It sucks to have to go in to order food instead of going up to the drive through by myself. It is really not the end of the world, but really, it would make my life easier as a mama. Maybe one day they will come up with a Deaf-Friendly access to order food for the drive through???

Can you imagine what the world will be like for our kids one day especially with everything getting smaller and thinner?!

I know most of you, my readers, are hearing, but what are there that you love and do not love about technology? 

1 comment :

  1. Oh dear, you CAN order at a drive thru restaurant. I've done that few times before. Just go up to the window and most of the times, they will take your order right there and then. Give it a try sometimes when you see the drive thru is not too busy. I would avoid it if it were ultra busy. It worked like a charm for me... just a downfall at one time... a cashier couldn't read English and had to pass on to another person who could read English! *shakes my head* What an experience. Give it a try sometimes and you might be surprised. ;)