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July 8, 2004

Hands On Video Relay Service Announces the Integration of VRS with the AOL(R) and AOL(R) Instant Messenger(TM) Services and iChat AV

From: PR Newswire (press release) - Jul 8, 2004

Deaf, Hard-of-Hearing and Speech Disabled Users Can Now Place Video Relay Calls with Mac and PC-Based Instant Messaging Technology

ROCKLIN, Calif., July 8 /PRNewswire/ -- Hands On Video Relay Service ( today announced hovrsIM -- a unique integration of AOL's leading instant messaging services and Video Relay Services. Deaf, hard-of-hearing and speech disabled users can now place video relay service (VRS) telephone calls using Apple's iChat AV, the AOL service or the AOL Instant Messenger (AIM(R)) Service, Version 5.5 (free at

To use the new service, VRS users simply send an instant message to the screen name "hovrsIM" and enter a phone number to place a call. A highly skilled and trained video interpreter at one of the HOVRS call centers will then contact the hearing individual on behalf of the deaf user and interpret the conversation between the two parties using American Sign Language (ASL) and iChat AV.

"Combining VRS with instant messaging is such a natural solution for the Deaf Community. Instant messaging has been a very popular tool for the deaf, hard-of-hearing and speech disabled, and now with the addition of VRS capabilities from Hands On, the most popular communication tool can also be used to place a video relay call," said Ronald E. Obray, Hands On's Chief Executive Officer.

Introduced in 2002, HOVRS offers the nation's 28 million deaf, hard-of-hearing and speech disabled individuals the ability to communicate with the hearing using ASL. Now, with the hovrsIM service and an easy-to-remember screen name, a deaf caller contacts a video interpreter via iChat AV or the AIM software using a Web camera connected to their computer. Once connected, the interpreter then translates the caller's ASL into speech for hearing users, and speech into ASL for the deaf user.

The hovrsIM service is available today, and is free to all users. It requires that users have either the AOL service, the free AIM service (version 5.5) or iChat AV 2.1 Users will also need a PC or Macintosh computer, a Web camera and high-speed Internet connectivity, such as DSL or a Cable modem.

About Hands On Video Relay Service, Inc.

Hands On Video Relay Service ( and its sister company, Hands On Sign Language Services (HOSLS), have provided American Sign Language interpreting services and other services to the deaf and hard-of-hearing communities for over fourteen years. Founded by a 20-year veteran of the sign language interpretation industry, both companies utilize hundreds of nationally certified ASL interpreters. It is the company's mission to provide 24/7/365 video relay and interpreting availability. For more information, visit

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SOURCE Hands On Video Relay Service

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