Clarity is demoing a new corded phone with an integrated Android tablet that can display real-time captions. The Ensemble has a 7-inch touchscreen that can be used to place calls, alter volume, and display full transcripts of past calls. It was developed in collaboration with ClearCaptions, a company certified by the FCC to caption conversations for the hearing impaired. The phone itself doesn't do any of the transcribing; instead, as with existing systems, the call is routed through a US-based call center. A representative at the call center listens in and repeats the conversation to Nuance's speech-recognition software. That's then sent down through the internet to the tablet — the whole process is apparently near-realtime, but due to some technical hitches (with the phone line at CES, rather than the device itself) we weren't able to see it in action. The Clarity Ensemble will be available nationwide for $229 at the end of this week, but ClearCaptions told us that those that need it most will be able to receive one for free or heavily subsidized from local health authorities.
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