US tech firm Clarity has developed the Ensemble – an amplified telephone that transcribes and displays conversations as they take place, providing users with a closed-captioned record of conversations in real time. The phone, which retails for $229, displays conversations on a 7-inch colour touchscreen and can amplify sound up to 50 decibels.
The phone uses voice-recognition technology, processed by a live third-party operator, to provide a closed-captioning service. Messages left on the phone’s answering machine are also transcribed.
Clarity’s devices are targeted at seniors and ageing consumers. The Ensemble phone will be most useful to users suffering from hearing loss. The firm’s other devices include large-button telephones for those losing vision, notification devices for the hearing- and vision-impaired, and mobile hearing amplifiers.