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Gallaudet University and AppTek Announce GoVoBo – the Universal Automatic Captioning and Translation Application Designed to Create Equality for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Users

December 16, 2021

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Blue background. White GoVoBo logo with three colors. White text reads Launching in Early 2022
Blue background. White GoVoBo logo with three colors. White text reads Launching in Early 2022

Gallaudet University’s Technology Access Program (TAP) and AppTek, a global leader in Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) applied to Automatic Speech Recognition (ASR), Neural Machine Translation (NMT), Natural Language Understanding (NLU) and Text-to-Speech (TTS) technologies, today announced the introduction of GoVoBo, a user-centric live captioning and translation application designed to provide members of the deaf and hard of hearing community with a more accessible and engaging videoconferencing experience. The application was designed in close coordination with deaf and hard of hearing users, and with their specific needs in mind, to create a product that goes beyond the basic display of live captions.

Gallaudet, as the world’s only university in which all programs and services are specifically designed to accommodate deaf and hard of hearing students, is uniquely qualified to understand and address their communication prioritization and needs through the user-centric GoVoBo application. Gallaudet University is a resource for the deaf and hard of hearing community at large, and member of the TAP team are experts in working with users to develop practical and effective technology solutions to solve real-world problems. Online video conferencing continues to be more of an obstacle than a resource for the DHH community with too many complex steps involved to setup and manage captions across multiple conferencing platforms, some of which do not offer captions. Gallaudet and AppTek are working to overcome these limitations by offering a scalable, platform-agnostic, user-centric universal access and communication application to deaf and hard of hearing users.

The GoVoBo application aims to provide optimized access to online digital audio/video media for deaf and hard of hearing people and for society at large with a simple solution to view live closed captions and translations irrespective of the conferencing platform. and delivers more control of the user interface (UI), allowing users to enhance the readability of real-time conversation transcripts and enjoy a more meaningful flow of spoken content. The application also aims to incorporate other enhanced, customizable features backed by user research and evidence. AppTek and Gallaudet will engage directly with the community to ensure these features are designed to address the unique needs of deaf and hard of hearing users.  

Dr. Christian Vogler, director of Gallaudet’s Technology Access Program, and Dr. Patrick Boudreault, Gallaudet’s Manager of Knowledge Translation, emphasized the importance of allowing users to take personal control over their accessibility. They stated that “The development of this app aims to serve the community, by providing a way to be inclusive of deaf and hard of hearing people that is completely under their own control. This partnership is all about giving us a sense of ownership and address real-world end-user needs from a firsthand perspective. GoVoBo is the only universal captioning platform that was developed by and for the deaf and hard of hearing communities. We look forward to sharing our product at CES 2022 in Las Vegas as one of the start-ups within the Eureka Park competition.”

Gallaudet and AppTek have been working together to improve the informativeness of automated captioning platform and to create an equivalent experience in broadcast content for DHH viewers as that of hearing audiences. AppTek is one of the pioneers in the natural language processing (NLP) industry and has strengths in R&D and collaboration to provide more tailored solutions for specific customer segments.

Mike Veronis, AppTek Chief Revenue Officer and Program Manager for Accessibility Solutions, said that “This collaboration provides a response to the deaf and hard of hearing community’s need for a way to easily communicate via video with an application that adapts to their needs and not the other way around. We have dedicated science and outreach with our partners at Gallaudet to create something uniquely meaningful, and we are all excited for the launch at CES in Las Vegas from January 5-8, 2022.”

More details will be provided soon about the features and vision of the GoVoBo application, which will be unveiled at CES 2022 in Las Vegas (Booth #60527, Venetian Expo) on January 5, 2022.

GoVoBo was in part developed with support by the Consumer Technology Association Foundation, and in part under a grant from the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR grant number 90RE5020). NIDILRR is a Center within the Administration for Community Living (ACL), Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The contents of the GoVoBo appplication do not necessarily represent the policy of NIDILRR, ACL, HHS, and you should not assume endorsement by the Federal Government.

You can learn more about GoVoBo at their website, or in their latest press release.

16 December 2021

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