TECH

Spuble App Brings Deaf People Back Into The Conversation

It's genius.

16/02/2017 09:36 | Updated 16 February 2017

It was 10 years since Bett Rolf was last able to have a proper chat with her family and friends.

The 91-year-old suffers from profound deafness, which can’t be treated with a hearing aid.

But now Bett has been brought back into the conversation with a simple app devised by her grandson.

Spuble, short for speech bubble, instantly translates speech into text using an iPad or iPhone.

Gary Rolf came up with the idea at his grandparents’ 70th wedding anniversary last year.

“When I saw her reading the subtitles on Coronation Street, I realised there might be a way to help,” he told Kent Online.

Gary Rolf
Bob and Bett Rolf.

“Speech-to-text technology is commonly used today for things like Siri and other dictation apps, so I thought if I designed an interface that was simple, even my grandad Bob can use it and speak to her like he used to,” Gary said.

He told HuffPost that sign language was out of the question for Bett as she has dementia.

“Even with all of the health problems she’s still a happy, bubbly person full of joy, always eager to share her stories,” Gary added.

Gary has made a short video about the app, which shows Bett and her husband Bob using Spuble together for the first time.

“I think it’s wonderful,” Bob said. “It’s going to be a big help.”

Gary is now hoping to raise awareness of the app to help other people in Bett and Bob’s situation chat once again.

Spuble is available to download from the App Store for free.

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