Google is helping the hearing impaired with two new apps. Live
Transcribe brings real-time captions to conversations and an innovative Sound Amplifier
to filter out unwanted background noises.
Live Transcribe brings Google speech recognition, perfected for OK Google, to an Android smartphone.
It is cloud-based (will require an internet connection)
automatic speech recognition that displays on screen spoken words in real-time
captions using just the phone’s microphone. Live Transcribe has the potential
to give people who are deaf or hard of hearing greater independence in their
Live Transcribe is available in over 70 languages and
dialects. It also enables two-way conversation via a type-back keyboard for
users who can’t or don’t want to speak, and connects with external microphones
to improve transcription accuracy.
To use Live Transcribe, enable it in Accessibility Settings,
then start Live Transcribe from the accessibility button on the navigation bar.
Starting today, Live Transcribe will gradually roll
out in a limited beta to users worldwide via the Play Store and pre-installed on Pixel 3 devices. Sign
up here to be notified when it is more widely available.
Sound amplifier sound clear to me
Hearing aids are good,
but almost all suffer in situations where
there’s a lot of background noise – like at a
loud cafe or airport lounge. Enter Sound Amplifier.
With Sound Amplifier, the spoken word is clearer and easier
to hear. You can use Sound Amplifier on your Android smartphone with wired
headphones to filter, augment and amplify the sounds in your environment. It
works by increasing quiet sounds, while not over-boosting loud sounds. You can customise sound enhancement settings and apply
noise reduction to minimise distracting
background noise with simple sliders and toggles.
Think of it as an equaliser pre-set aimed at voice. Sound Amplifier is available on the Play Store and
supports Android 9 Pie and comes pre-installed on Pixel 3.
GadgetGuy’s take: Google is well ahead on accessibility
Google’s accessibility blog is interesting
reading. Accessibility is not just about
hearing or vision impairment but permanent or temporary physical impairment. Of
our 7.6 billion inhabitants over one billion have some form of disability. That
is nearly 15% who see, hear or feel things differently.
And then there are
school children. Their impairment is to adapt to learning on glass (computers)
which is vastly different to the textbook and rote learning approach of
yesteryear. If we do not bring that experience up to match old pedagogy, then
this generation of kids will be learning impaired. Google is doing a lot in
Chrome to address the use of Stylus and glass instead of pen and paper. To be
fair so is Microsoft with Windows Ink.
Google helps by providing
a range of accessibility tools
that improve the user experience for everyone. For instance, closed captions
can make videos accessible to more people whether they have a hearing
impairment or are sitting in a crowded room. It even has free automated testing
tools to make sure your app, website or whatever is accessible.