FAQ

 
  1. Is this product appropriate for both children and adults?
  2. Is it necessary to assess the potential user to determine if the iCommunicator is the appropriate technology?
  3. Is the iCommunicator intended to replace sign language interpreters?
  4. Can you adjust the signing speed in the iCommunicator program?
  5. How can you find the sign for a word displayed in the Text window?
  6. Can more signs be added to the iCommunicator’s sign vocabulary?
  7. How does the iCommunicator program convert speech to sign?
  8. What type of support do I receive with the system?
  9. How much time does it take to install the software and set-up the iCommunicator system?
  10. Is it necessary for persons to be trained to use the iCommunicator program?
  11. How long does it take to train the iCommunicator to accurately translate your voice?
  12. Does the iCommunicator program contain a dictionary?
  13. How many speakers can have speech/voice recognition files on the iCommunicator?
  14. Can other programs be operating simultaneously with the iCommunicator software?
  15. Can a lapel microphone be used instead of the head worn microphone?
  16. Can the iCommunicator program be used with a telephone to send and receive messages?
  17. Which Manually Coded English (MCE) system was used in the development of the iCommunicator system?
  18. How does the iCommunicator program accommodate multiple speakers and group discussions?
  19. Can the iCommunicator program translate into other languages or other modes of visual communication?
  20. Can persons with distinctive dialects successfully use the iCommunicator?
  21. Does the iCommunicator software operate on a Macintosh computer?
  22. Are there funding alternatives available to obtain the iCommunicator for end users in need of financial assistance?
  23. Can the iCommunicator program be projected onto a TV or projector?
  24. How do we accommodate several end users in the same room who are using the iCommunicator program on their computers?
  25. Can other FM systems be used with the iCommunicator program?
  26. Can iCommunicator translate documents, email, and web pages?
Is this product appropriate for both children and adults?
Both adults and children in educational, workplace, and public access environments are using the iCommunicator software program successfully. The iCommunicator program is being used in K-12 education, post-secondary institutions, government, and public access venues across the United States and Canada. The youngest independent user is in the third grade. The age of the end user is only one of many factors to be considered in determining if this is an appropriate communication access technology. For instance, in the workplace, the iCommunicator provides access to staff meetings, trainings, and daily communication with co-workers. In public environments, such as libraries, the iCommunicator program has many uses, including access to electronic information technology. For more information on applications of the technology, go to Solutions and Applications

Back to Top



Is it necessary to assess the potential user to determine if the iCommunicator is the appropriate technology?
Yes, either formal or informal assessment of the intended end user (or special application) should be evaluated to ensure there is a good match between the communication access needs and the features of this technology. The iCommunicator program must be the right technology for the right person for the right application and implemented in the right way for positive outcomes to be realized. Refer to the Candidacy Criteria Considerations for information on communication access needs and characteristics to be considered in determining the appropriateness of this technology for a specific end user or application.

Back to Top



Is the iCommunicator intended to replace sign language interpreters?
The iCommunicator program is not intended to replace sign language interpreters, but offered as an alternative solution for appropriate applications. Anecdotal evidence supports that motivated end users are able to successfully use the iCommunicator program in specific communication situations where it meets their needs for access to communication. The program uses American Sign Language (ASL) signs presented in English word order to enhance the association between the spoken, written, and signed word. Evaluation and planning teams (e.g., Assistive Technology Evaluation Teams, Vocational Evaluation Teams, Individual Education Planning Teams, Transition Planning Teams, Rehabilitation Teams) of which the end user and/or parent or caregiver are participants, should make the final determination regarding the recommendation of this software program as an appropriate assistive technology. Other departments concerned with accommodations for persons with disabilities (e.g., Human Resources, 508 Coordinator, ADA Coordinator, EOE Coordinator) should also consider the need and feature match when selecting and recommending assistive technologies such as the iCommunicator.

Back to Top



Can you adjust the signing speed in the iCommunicator program?
The signing speed can be adjusted using the Signing Options Menu. The lowest level is the actual speed at which the video sign was filmed. The speeds of signing increases incrementally, with “2” being equal to 1.5x the actual film speed, “3” being equal to 2x the film speed, and so on. Most end users tend to prefer speed "4" or "5" for comfortable onscreen viewing.

Back to Top



How can you find the sign for a word displayed in the Text window?
There are three ways to access a sign for a word.
  1. Double click on the word in the Text window
  2. Place the cursor on the word and click the Show button on the Text window
  3. Use the Word List on the Signing Options menu
Back to Top



Can more signs be added to the iCommunicator’s sign vocabulary?
At this time it is not possible to add more signs to the iCommunicator vocabulary. Future product development may allow for that option.

Back to Top



How does the iCommunicator program convert speech to sign?
The iCommunicator program is a patented technology that converts speech-to-text using Dragon NaturallySpeaking speech/voice recognition engine. The program then quickly converts text to video sign language. If a sign is unavailable for a word, the word is finger spelled. The program also has the capability to convert human voice to computer-generated voice using the Speak Incoming Words feature. This allows end users to couple their personal peripheral amplification device to the computer using the audio Y-cable and listen to a clear computer-generated voice. This is a good application for some persons with hearing loss, such as, post-cochlear implant surgery. The restricted dynamic range of the computer-generated speech, as well as the predictable sound patterns, provides very usable acoustical information for some end users.

Back to Top



What type of support do I receive with the system?
Customer Support for each iCommunicator software and peripheral kit includes online and telephone support for one year from date of purchase. Support is available at (718) 965-8600 between the hours of 8:00AM-5:00PM ET, Monday through Friday, excluding holidays. Annual Support Agreements are also available for purchase.

Back to Top



How much time does it take to install the software and set-up the iCommunicator system?
Using the Install Guide, it will take less than 30 minutes to install the software and establish a beginning speech/voice recognition file. For the experienced user, it takes five minutes or less to set up the iCommunicator program and peripherals (e.g., FM system, power connections).

Back to Top



Is it necessary for persons to be trained to use the iCommunicator program?
Yes, to derive optimal benefit from this technology, end users, implementation managers, and speakers should receive systematic professional training. We recommend that iCommunicator customers designate one or more implementation managers be trained in the use of the software program and peripherals. The implementation managers then become responsible for managing the technology and providing training to both end users and speakers. The detailed built-in Help is useful and supports end users, speakers, and managers. Check this website often to find additional information on iCommunicator. Onsite training can be arranged by contacting an Authorized iCommunicator reseller.

Back to Top



How long does it take to train the iCommunicator to accurately translate your voice?
iCommunicator 5.0 contains many enhancements that significantly decrease speech and voice recognition training time. Dragon NaturallySpeaking Professional, the underlying speech recognition engine, offers many features to personalize a speaker's speech and voice recognition file and enhance translation accuracy. In addition, Dragon NaturallySpeaking Professional has the highest translation accuracy in the industry according to independent studies. Qualitative data suggests that most speakers can easily achieve 93% (or better) accuracy in 20 minutes or less.

Back to Top



Does the iCommunicator program contain a dictionary?
Yes, an electronic dictionary is built into the iCommunicator program. It provides users the opportunity to quickly obtain the definition for a word displayed in the text window, as well as synonyms.

Back to Top



How many speakers can have speech/voice recognition files on the iCommunicator?
The only limitation is the available hard drive space on the computer. A typical S/V file will occupy approximately 50 MB of hard drive space.

Back to Top



Can other programs be operating simultaneously with the iCommunicator software?
The manufacturer does not recommend that any other computer programs be open and operating simultaneously when the iCommunicator program is in use. This includes screen savers. This program requires a considerable amount of the computer’s resources in order to effectively perform the speech-to-text translations as well as other functions of the program. It is very important that end users not load other programs into the start-up menu, as this will very likely slow down the operation of the iCommunicator program when all of these programs vie concurrently for the computer’s available resources. Please see the Tips and Tricks section for more information

Back to Top



Can a lapel microphone be used instead of the head worn microphone?
The manufacturer has tested many lapel microphones, but none have met the specifications necessary for consistent speech/voice recognition accuracy. The head worn microphone is maintained at a consistent distance from the speaker’s mouth, whereas when a speaker uses a lapel microphone and turns his/her head away from the microphone, critical speech elements necessary for recognition accuracy may be lost or distorted. The manufacturer has qualified the LightSPEED microhone as the only high quality microphones that are compatible with the iCommunicator software in order to achieve maximum translation accuracy. Prior to shipping, the LightSPEED system is professionally calibrated to optimal settings to support maximum performance and translation accuracy.

Back to Top



Can the iCommunicator program be used with a telephone to send and receive messages?
At this time that option is not available.

Back to Top



Which Manually Coded English (MCE) system was used in the development of the iCommunicator system?
The concern about the average literacy levels of many persons who are deaf or hard of hearing was the inspiration for the development of the iCommunicator technology. As a result, the decision was made to deliver American Sign Language (ASL) signs in English word order (subject+verb+object). Focus was given to Signed Exact English (SEE) sign morphological markers in the development of the sign language library. What is offered is most consistent with the common definition of Pidgin Signed English (PSE), which is the system offered for communication accessibility in many educational, workplace, and public access venues.

Back to Top



How does the iCommunicator program accommodate multiple speakers and group discussions?
The iCommunicator program is not speaker independent at this time, although speech/voice recognition (S/VR) files for virtually an unlimited number of speakers can be recognized by the program. Each speaker must establish a S/V file and complete the systematic training process. The program easily switches from one speaker to the next in less than one minute. In a small group setting, it would be advisable for one person in the group to establish a S/V file and serve as the facilitator for the group sessions. As always, it is important for speakers to practice the common accommodations for persons with hearing loss or other communication challenges by repeating or rephrasing questions and answers that are transmitted during meetings, lectures, and classroom discussions. As the processing speed and other enhancements in computer hardware technology, as well as speech and voice recognition technology, advance, the manufacturer anticipates advancing to a speaker independent version of the software program.

Back to Top



Can the iCommunicator program translate into other languages or other modes of visual communication?
At this time those offerings are not available in the current version of the iCommunicator program. However, the capability exists to offer presentations in other languages and visual communication modes in future versions of the iCommunicator software program.

Back to Top



Can persons with distinctive dialects successfully use the iCommunicator?
The iCommunicator program uses a speech recognition engine that is based on an enhanced acoustical model. As such, during speech/voice recognition (S/VR) training, the program compares the individual speaker’s speech and voice characteristics (e.g., acoustical, linguistic, lexical) to the built-in model. The speech recognition engine uses continuous recognition of natural speech as it translates speech to text. Anecdotal data indicates that persons with distinctive dialects can achieve a high level of translation accuracy when using the program, although it may require slightly more time to train the program to recognize the speaker’s unique speech and voice characteristics. Authorized iCommunicator Resellers [LINK TO RESELLERS] are experts at speech and voice recognition training and can be contacted to discuss available training options.

Back to Top



Does the iCommunicator software operate on a Macintosh computer?
At this time the software is compatible only with a PC platform.

Back to Top



Are there funding alternatives available to obtain the iCommunicator for end users in need of financial assistance?
If funding is not available through personal resources or local, state, or federal funding sources (e.g., school districts, vocational rehabilitation, government-supported medical agencies, CAP funding), there are other sources that may be available to support the purchase of an iCommunicator kit to provide communication access. Local service clubs are one source, as well as state and federal resources. Refer to the funding section for further information and links to resources

Back to Top



Can the iCommunicator program be projected onto a TV or projector?
The iCommunicator program can be shown through an LCD projector by connecting the video cable that comes with the projector to the computers video (VGA) output connector; however, not all projectors are compatible with all computers.

Back to Top



How do we accommodate several end users in the same room who are using the iCommunicator program on their computers?
If there are several iCommunicator end users in a classroom, worksite, or other setting, there are some easy steps to follow to ensure that everyone is receiving the text-to-speech-to-sign data efficiently on their own computer:

1. Each computer must have the iCommunicator program installed on it, that is, a license for each computer.

2. The speaker does not need to create a new speech/voice recognition file for each end user's computer. Simply create one file and then transfer it to the other computers via infrared, back up on a CD, Zip Drive, Flash Drive or server. The speaker should calibrate the microphone for each computer by running the audio wizard (Options>Speech Recognition>Run Audio Wizard). There are directions in the Users Guide and HELP file that address this topic. If the speaker updates his/her speech/voice file, repeat the process so that the current version of the speaker's speech/voice profile will be on each end user' computer.

3. The LightSPEED FM system for each computer must be the same frequency channel (e.g., 0125, 5875). Otherwise, those not on the same frequency channel, as the speaker's transmitter will not receive the speech-to-text-to-sign information.

4. The speaker uses the transmitter and microphone on the same frequency channel as the end users' receivers that are connected to their computers

Back to Top



Can other FM systems be used with the iCommunicator program?
The iCommunicator manufacturer tested many FM systems and determined that the LightSPEED 360 FM system provided the best input for speech/voice recognition due to its low noise level and the enhancement provided by the upgraded TK-250 noise-canceling microphone. In addition, the LightSPEED FM system is calibrated for optimum translation accuracy prior to shipping. To maintain a high level of translation accuracy, it is important to have a clear speech input that is not distorted by noise. This is similar to trying to understand clearly when you are listening in a background of noise, such as in the food court at the mall, a party, a basketball game, or similar function. Noise degrades a speech signal because noise has more power than speech sounds. As a result, listening in a background of noise can lead to misperceptions of what was said. The LightSPEED FM provides the clearest signal with the highest translation accuracy, and that is why it was the input device selected to be included in the iCommunicator software and peripheral kit.

Back to Top



Can iCommunicator translate documents, email, and web pages?
iCommunicator’s iText tool allows you to translate text from web pages, email, word processing documents, and other software applications. With one click this information is copied to the iCommunicator Text window and then translated to Sign Language or read the user.

Back to Top



     Receive Updates on iCommunicator News – Join our Mailing List