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August 1, 2004

Phone face helps deaf people chat

From: CBBC, UK - Aug 1, 2004

People with hearing problems should find it easier to chat on the phone in the future thanks to a new invention which allows them to lip read.

The invention - called Synface - hears what the person on the end of the line is saying, then mouths the words to the listener through an on-screen face.

This allows the listener to use lip-reading skills as well.

The technology has just been tested by a group of deaf people. It's hoped it will be widely available in five years.

The software, developed by a team of Swedish and British researchers, can be installed on a regular computer and is used with a standard telephone.

Users speak into the phone as normal.

Scientists hope the device can be adapted for use with mobile phones and palm pilots.

© 2004 BBC