FreeBell at Home
As anyone who owns a laptop or a smartphone knows, devices are never truly finished. There are always improvements, updates, and upgrades that get made along the way. The end goal for FreeBell is for it to work in less controlled environments. Once we get the device into the scenarios above, we can gather data, improve on what we build, and make a whole variety of situations feasible for FreeBell that will not be feasible when it is first released.
90% of Deaf children have two hearing parents and 88% of those parents do not know sign language. FreeBell can provide a new and easy way for Deaf children to communicate with parents and siblings. Extended family is another area where this could help a lot. If only 10% of parents know sign language, you can imagine that the percentage of extended family members who learn sign language is even lower.
I have definitely experienced this in my experience with two Deaf parents. It can be very difficult for Deaf people to keep up with all the interactions of a primarily hearing family gathering, even in the chaos of a Christmas dinner. Even FreeBell will not be able to keep up with that chaos to begin with. But several years in the future, FreeBell will be refined in the classroom and at work. Using the information gathered through being used in those more controlled environments FreeBell will be able to help deaf people communicate with their families.
It will not be ready for a few years but uses like this are the goal we are working towards. Seeing this bigger picture and the potential that it has to help people is what keeps us working so hard every day to create FreeBell. If this idea seems interesting to you and you want to help, we can always use more feedback. You can do this by taking our surveys, participating in our forums, participating in a focus group, or allowing us to observe an educational setting. Doing this will allow you to contribute to the future of assistive devices.
I remember when I first became a member of the OliveFamily and I was explaining what we are creating at OliveDevices to my Deaf godmother. Immediately, the first scenario that she asked about was family situations like the one mentioned above. She was genuinely excited about the opportunity to wear something like FreeBell and be able to totally understand what her family is saying around her and to be able to participate in family discussions. This is just one of a lot of small scenarios where what OliveDevices is working on can empower Deaf people.