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Smartphone app enables deaf people to make phone calls


Tuesday 3 March
Smartphone app enables deaf people to make phone calls

March 03 at 8:30 AM

A new smartphone app has launched in the UK, giving deaf and hard of hearing people the freedom to have real time phone conversations

From booking a table at a restaurant, to calling a plumber or talking to the local doctor, the new app called ‘Pedius’, harnesses voice recognition and speech synthesis technology to help people who are deaf or hard of hearing remain as independent as possible and confident using their phones.

Available on iPhone and Android devices, the app works by the user either speaking or typing a text message on their smartphone, which is then translated to speech in real time for the recipient of the call. Their response is then converted back into text and displayed on the user’s phone.

Pedius was created by Italian entrepreneur, Lorenzo Di Ciaccio, in response to a story of a deaf man whose car broke down and was unable to communicate by phone, meaning that he had to wait for hours hoping that someone would notice and help him.

“Being able to make a simple phone call is something we often take for granted. There are over 70 million people in the world who have profound to severe hearing loss and are unable to use phones.

A smartphone is something most people have, so Pedius is designed to help make everyday life easier by offering a more accessible way to communicate whenever they like over the phone,” said Di Ciaccio, CEO, Pedius. 

Unlike the textphone, Pedius does not require both users to have specific hardware and all communications and interactions are private, unlike some alternative services that are facilitated through a call centre or operator.

The app, which is free to download, can also be used by businesses and organisations to communicate with deaf members. Calls are cheaper than the average mobile phone call and from March, users will receive 20 free minutes to use each month.

Pedius launched in Italy in 2013 in collaboration with the deaf community. It is also available in the US and France with plans to expand further into Europe.

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