:: BBC NEWS | Technology | Deaf to ‘hear’ PA system on phone ::


Deaf to ‘hear’ PA system on phone

By Geoff Adams-Spink
Age & disability correspondent, BBC News website

A group of research students at IBM has developed a system to make public announcements available to people on a mobile phone.

Called LAMA, the service was originally conceived to improve communications for deaf people.

Its designers hope that it will soon be in use in busy public places like airports, railway stations and hospitals.

LAMA was developed at IBM’s laboratory at Hursley in Hampshire.

As someone enters a place where the LAMA – or Location Aware Messaging for Accessibility – system is running, it is recognised by their mobile phone which will then display a list of the services on offer.

After a user has signed up for the service, public address announcements will be delivered to their handset in their chosen format.

Vibrating alert

This would often be a text message, but could also be an image or a vibrating alert.

The inspiration behind LAMA came from a profoundly deaf IBM employee who was concerned that he would not hear the fire alarm at the same time as his colleagues.

“Although there’s a flashing light over his desk, he wasn’t necessarily at this desk,” explained IBM’s Andy Stanford-Clark, who has the title…

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