Wear It's At: TypeWell transcriber develops new assistive device
Editor's note: This article is timely because there's a Kickstarter project deadline of January 12, 2014. As of this writing, the inventors of the device are halfway to their fund raising goal. We hope you'll watch the short video and pledge your support!
While it's common for transcribers to have other careers outside of TypeWell — nursing, engineering, writing and editing — it's rare for a transcriber to combine a"day job" with experience serving the deaf and hard-of-hearing population.
Meet Michelle Temple, an artist who moved to New York City in 2006, enrolled in TypeWell's distance learning course, and has done freelance transcribing ever since.
Eric Rosenthal and Michelle Temple
Through her work as a transcriber with All Hands in Motion, a NYC-based company, Michelle learned about the Interactive Telecommunications Program at New York University. She quickly recognized that this innovative program was a perfect direction for her career, combining her experience with communication access services and her natural curiosity about electronics and art.
"Electronics became my art," says Michelle. "If you can go to school and pursue other passions you have, a lot of times they'll come together without you ever really realizing it."
While Michelle (now an adjunct professor at NYU) still is a TypeWell transcriber, she also collaborates with faculty like Eric Rosenthal — a Systems Engineer and Perception Specialist — on projects geared toward creating affordable assistive technology solutions.
Their latest design project is called Wear, an inexpensive, wearable microphone for people with hearing loss. Wear is the smallest directional analog microphone ever made to capture voices at close range, so that people with hearing loss can more easily engage in conversation.
"Wear incorporates a low profile, micro-miniature, patent pending directional microphone technology that creates a 6-foot zone to capture, focus, and clarify conversations in noisy environments, while reducing the effects of extraneous noise."
This brief Kickstarter video demonstrates how the Wear device can help increase the quality of conversation for people with hearing loss, and how you can support its production:
Visit Michelle and Eric's Kickstarter project page to listen to audio samples, view a user testimonial, and learn more about their design process.
Please spread the word!