Fujitsu Introduces "LiveTalk," a Participatory Communications Tool for People with Hearing Disabilities

Asia-Pacific, April 14 2015

TOKYO: Fujitsu Limited and Fujitsu Social Science Laboratory Limited today announced that, starting in mid-May, they will begin sales of FUJITSU Software LiveTalk, a participatory communications tool for people with hearing disabilities, to companies and schools in Japan.

Image of LiveTalk' in use

LiveTalk is software that, for situations in which multiple people share information, such as meetings or classroom settings, recognizes a speaker’s speech, immediately converts it into text, and displays it on multiple PC screens, enabling all participants, including people with hearing disabilities, to share information in real time. Even without a human transcriber or other assistance, which until now has been required when hearing-impaired and hearing people work or learn in the same environment, LiveTalk enables smooth two-way communication, with built-in functions for text input and stamp tools from PCs.

When persons with hearing disabilities participate in a meeting, using a transcriber or other method to transmit the information has made it difficult for the person to grasp the content of discussions in real time, resulting in the problem of lost opportunities to speak at appropriate times. In addition, because a significant burden is placed on the person transmitting the information, there have been significant obstacles to having people with hearing disabilities participate in meetings.

Focusing on the issue of communication with people with hearing disabilities, and based on the technologies of Fujitsu, which has been advancing initiatives in universal design, Fujitsu Social Science Laboratory developed and commercialized LiveTalk, a participatory communications tool for people with hearing disabilities that creates a smoother and more natural communications environment.

By promoting smooth communication between hearing-impaired and hearing people, this software can be expected to broaden employment and educational opportunities for people with hearing disabilities.

The software was developed with a 2013 grant from the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications promoting the use of IC.

Features of LiveTalk

1- Conversion of speech into text with speech-recognition technology(1), and real-time display of speech with wireless LAN transmissions

  • The technology enables text-based communication, as speech is converted into text and displayed on PC screens in real time with speech recognition using handheld and headset mics.
  • Even if multiple people speak at once, the text conversion is processed in parallel and displayed simultaneously, making it possible to accurately grasp the flow of a conversation.
  • If there are any mistakes in the conversion of speech into text, they can be corrected on the PC.
  • Text is transmitted in real time to all PCs connected to a given wireless LAN router environment. The software can also be used on tablet computers.

2- Provides for a variety of modes of expression, such as the transmission of stamps or fixed expressions in real time

  • In addition to keyboard input, through the input of easily understandable emoticon stamps and preregistered, frequently used, fixed phrases anyone can comment quickly.

By continuing to develop new features for this software, Fujitsu Limited and Fujitsu Social Science Laboratory Limited plan to broaden its applications to include such features as storage of conversation logs and support for creating meeting notes.

In addition, the companies will continue to work on resolving communications issues for people with hearing disabilities, extending the visualization of speech from everyday topics to a variety of other themes, such as highly specialized content and emergency conditions, with the goal of bringing about a convenient and safe society where information can be safeguarded in a variety of settings.

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