UH Moment

UH Moment: “My Voice”

More than 280 million people worldwide are hearing impaired.  Communicating with those who are not can be frustrating.  Check out UH Moment.

“Just because you’re deaf doesn’t mean you’re less of a person,” said Sergio Aleman, product design student in the College of Architecture.  “They want to do things on their own as well, they’re just like me or you”

Aleman and teammates from the College of Technology collaborated to design “My Voice,” a device that translates sign language into audio, bridging the communication gap.  

“They can bring this mobile device with them. They don’t need to have someone, like a translator, right by their side,” Alemansaid.  

“My Voice” is a handheld device,  about the size of a cell phone, and stands up like  a picture frame.

ASL 'I Love You' Stamp“It’s pocket size and you just flip the stand and it comes on.  You then adjust the view for the angle, sign, and it audio-outputs,” he explained.   

The “My Voice” device is still evolving, though Aleman will be working on it for the next year, when he’ll then test it in the marketplace.

He and his teammates interviewed hearing impaired people for guidance on what they needed, going so far as to cover their ears for a day to get a close to real world experience.  Then it became more than just an assignment

“It really touches my heart whenever we talk about stuff like this because this is real life it’s not just for a grade anymore. We spoke to them, talked about their life.  It’s not just one story; it’s 280 million stories.”  

The “My Voice” device is part of what’s happening at the University of Houston.  I’m Marisa Ramirez.