Wednesday, 1 February 2012
Japanese schoolchildren with hearing impairments have been given a new way of learning thanks to the brainy guys at Nintendo. They have now developed some nifty software for use with their handheld DSi consoles, which helps to convert speech (from teachers and peers) into readable text.
According to Venturebeat, The new learning software is currently being pioneered throughout Japanese schools in the Okinawa and Tottori Prefectures, with the help of a telecom company called NTT, and is part of a larger scheme to allow hard of hearing pupils, or even those with learning difficulties access to speech-to-text services and other learning resources and materials in order to boost their chances of educational success.
The software on the DSi means that teachers' speech is immediately translated into text and then it is saved to a cloud-based server, where it can be downloaded 'live' to the special DSi handhelds whilst in the classroom, so that children can read and keep track of what is being said during their lessons, or it can be saved so that it can be studied later.
A similar scheme has recently been highlighted by Microsoft's Imagine Cup, which featured a winning entry from Ecuador's 'Team Falcon' that was based on the concept of turning speech into sign language symbols via an on-screen device.
This latest development could be seen as a positive step in enhancing the educational experiences of children with difficulties and disabilities, and is a good example of how gaming technologies can be used outside of the main gaming community.