A new app launched earlier in the month is helping the deaf community get closer to every conversation. The developer has close ties to Rochester.
Originally from Hawaii, Gerald Isobe was born deaf. “He went to mainstream school, didn’t learn sign language until he actually went to NTID,” said his son Brandon Isobe. That stands for the National Technical Institute for the deaf at at RIT and even still his son Brandon did not learn American Sign Language for years.
“My dad and I mainly communicated with some finger spelling and a lot of lip reading, which isn’t accurate. “30 percent, maybe 20 percent,” said Isobe.
so the father and son pair put their heads together earlier in 2017 to develop whats called app my-ear.
The app is currently only available with an iPhone but works well with an average pair of headphones and attached speakers. That message can be read by the deaf person.
“He doesn’t need to slow down his words he uses his normal speech, and my dad can read everything he’s said,” said Isobe.
Sign language with an interpreter allows more expression, but when in a pinch, “It tends to open up the door and facilitate the conversation better and there’s less of that awkwardness,” said Isobe.
Gerald Isobe was the first ever deaf person to graduate from RIT and is known for his skills on the golf course as he played all four years at RIT