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Identity

Someone has created a tool that makes captions for deaf people in real world conversations

Company develops an app that transcribes speech into text that follows the speaker.

Someone has created a tool that makes captions for deaf people in real world conversations

Live-captioning technology is gaining ground, an exciting development for the hard of hearing.

Captions are a daily part of most people’s lives even if you don't always realize it. On social media, captions are sometimes automatically generated for videos or you can simply go into your settings to turn them on. These options are designed to be more inclusive, and people that are hard of hearing or deaf need them on videos to understand what's being said. The fact that they’re more widely available is great news.

One developer wanted to take captions a step further, into the real world. Captions on televisions or videos playing on your device's screen are great, but wouldn’t it be helpful to have the ability to turn them on while you’re having an actual conversation? A video posted online by Paul Mealy, product design leadership at Meta, shows a new augmented reality (AR) tool that could be a game changer for people who are deaf or hard of hearing. Augmented reality is something that people are accustomed to through video games like Halo, the first-person game that has a pop-up display showing information about the player's surroundings.


Like the video game, the real-time live-captioning technology uses augmented reality to display captions on top of the person speaking via wearables. The captions can even follow the speaker around and work in crowded spaces, focusing only on the identified speaker's voice. Mealy says the prototype uses directional microphones, where speech is recorded and converted to live text and attached to the person speaking via body tracking in AR. “One of the issues the deaf and hard of hearing have had to deal with during the pandemic is masks obscuring facial expressions, which often provide cues to what a person is saying," he says. "By utilizing captioning, we can help facilitate communication regardless of if the user's face is covered.” According to Mealy, the prototype runs on mobile platforms, but performs best on wearable computing devices such as Microsoft’s HaloLens and other hands-free wearable devices.

The post showing Mealy testing out the prototype has been shared several times across social media, with Pascal Bornet, the chief data officer of Aera Technology, sharing it with his more than 40,000 Twitter followers. Comments on the posts are positive in nature and filled with excitement about the potential benefits. Several commenters said the technology is “amazing” while some had handy tips like allowing the user to make the text stationary instead of staying with the person. Another advised that the text be placed at the side of the screen with an arrow prompting the user to look toward the text. The excitement from the commenters can be felt through the screen.

It’s not clear from the post when this technology will be available commercially, but it’s clear that when it is available it will give deaf and hard of hearing people much more accommodations to navigate hearing spaces. If people could learn ASL throughout their school years as a standard education course as well as having access to this new technology, the world would be so much more accessible to deaf and hard of hearing people. It's wonderful that people like Mealy are working to do their part.

Joy

Delivery driver's reaction to snacks left for him shows how a little kindness goes a long way

'Seeing a grown man get so excited about Capri Sun is extra wholesome.'

"Dee" the delivery guy stoked to get some Doritos.

Sometimes the smallest gesture can change someone’s day for the better, especially when that act of kindness lets them know their work is appreciated. Over the last few years, delivery drivers have done a fantastic job keeping people healthy during the pandemic, so Toni Hillison Barnett told News 11 that she and her husband started a tradition of leaving snacks for their drivers on the front porch.

The Barnetts, who live in Louisville, Kentucky, can see the drivers' reactions by recording them on their doorbell cameras. “I live for reactions like this to our snack cart! Thx to all of the delivery drivers out there! We appreciate you!” Toni wrote on an Instagram post.

Recently, one of the Barnetts’ delivery guys, a joyous fellow that we believe is known as Dee, went viral on TikTok because of his positive reaction to receiving some snacks during his deliveries. The snacks are tasty, no doubt. But it’s also wonderful to feel appreciated. After Toni posted the video, it received more than 100,000 views.

“Oh my God, you guys are the best, I gotta take a snapshot of this,” Dee can be heard saying in the video. “Oh, Capri Suns are my favorite, Yes!”

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Photo by Roméo A. on Unsplash

Cat hilariously rats out owner in front of the landlord.

Maybe it's a right of passage into adulthood or maybe some landlords discriminate against pets because they can't tell people kids are forbidden in their residence. Either way, just about everyone has lived in a rental home that didn't allow pets. Most people just abide by the rules and vow to get a pet when they find a new home.

Some people, on the other hand, get creative. I once came across a post on social media where someone claimed their pit bull puppy was actually a silver Labrador. But one woman on TikTok was harboring a secret cat in her rental that had a no pets policy, and either her cat was unaware or he was aware and was simply being a jerk.

My money is on the latter since cats are known to be jerks for no reason. I mean, have you ever left something on the counter for a few minutes? They make it their mission to knock it on the floor. So I fully believe this fluffy little meow box wanted to make his presence known in an effort to rat out his owner.

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Phil Collins and George Harrison

This article originally appeared on 12.01.21


Beatle George Harrison was pigeon-holed as the "Quiet Beatle," but the youngest member of the Fab Four had an acerbic, dry sense of humor that was as sharp as the rest of his bandmates.

He gave great performances in the musical comedy classics, "A Hard Days Night" and "Help!" while holding his own during The Beatles' notoriously anarchic press conferences. After he left the band in 1970, in addition to his musical career, he would produce the 1979 Monty Python classic, "The Life of Brian."

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Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash
woman holding a cup of tea, writing in a notebook

It's no secret that everyone could use a little kindness in their lives and it can come in many forms. Sometimes it's the neighbor cutting your grass when your husband's away and you're too busy to get to it yourself. Other times it's sending a card to the elderly widow down the street.

One woman in Arkansas has taken to spreading kindness through writing letters to strangers. Allison Bond, 25, started writing letters over a year ago during COVID-19 when she couldn't attend school due to her medical condition. Bond has cerebral palsy and is at greater risk for serious illness should she contract the virus. Writing letters was an act of kindness that didn't require a trip out of the house.

Bond began by writing to soldiers and inmates. In fact, the first letter she received back was from a soldier. Bond told 5News, "I have one framed from a soldier. He had all his battle buddies sign it. So I framed it so I could put it up." She's kept every letter she's received.

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