Deaf Pager Unveiled by Metrocast
WASHINGTON (AP) _ A device which lets hearing-impaired people send brief messages to portable pagers was unveiled Monday by a company that says the service will be available in 90 U.S. cities.
The system uses a palm-sized electronic messaging receiver and the so- called telecommunications device for the deaf (TTD), which is a keyboard that connects with a regular telephone to allow conversations to be typed to another TDD over phone lines.
The receiver, which can hold 40 messages up to 52 characters in length, vibrates to alert the pager wearer of the message, according to Metrocast, a nationwide electronic messaging company that developed the device with the assistance of Gallaudet University in Washington.
Metrocast said more than 100,000 TDDs are in use in the United States, where there are more than 21 million hearing-impaired people. Metrocast said its paging network is installed in 90 major cities with a population in excess of 60 million.
″The TDD-Metrocast system offers unprecedented freedom to a population previously restricted by its lack of access to suitable communications tools,″ said Thomas D. Di Noto, president of San Diego-based Metrocast.
Lloyd Ballinger, manager of networks and communications at Gallaudet, which is a school for the hearing-impaired, said the device allows him to respond more quickly to problems in his job.
″I don’t have to look for a phone and TDD or come back to the office to check for messages,″ Ballinger said.
The service, which was unveiled at the Communication Networks ’89 exposition and trade show, will cost from $59 to $99 monthly, depending on the frequency of use, Metrocast said.