As Deaf History Month continues, CaptionMax wants to focus on inventions, discoveries, and improvements not just for the deaf and hard of hearing but by the deaf and hard of hearing. Enjoy five of our favorites. I’m sure we’ve left a few out. Do you have any favorites?
1. The Internet
Vint Cerf, who has used hearing aids since the age of 13, helped to connect packet switches to the ARPANet, the precursor to the Internet, during his time at UCLA. He continued his work at Stanford in the ‘70s, helping to advance the technology which now connects over a billion people from all parts of the globe.
Cerf (pronounced “surf”) has been called “the Father of the Internet” and “Google Chief Internet Evangelist.” He is currently serving on many corporate boards, performing numerous speaking engagements, and continuing to develop new Internet applications.
To learn more about this fascinating man:
Watch: The Internet Today (warning: no closed captioning on this video)
Read: How the Internet Came to Be, by Vinton Cerf
Wikipedia: Vint Cerf (every college kid’s favorite source)
2. Nobel Prize in Chemistry (1975)
Sir John Cornforth, deaf since his teens, won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his work on the stereochemistry of enzyme-catalyzed reactions.
Born in Sydney, Australia, he started noticing signs of deafness at the age of 10. His loss of hearing took more than a decade, but he was completely deaf before graduated from university. He attended Sydney University and graduated with honors. From there, he had the opportunity to study in Oxford. It was at Oxford that he contributed to The Chemistry of Penicillin, a record detailing the effort to develop that world-changing drug.
Cornforth is still active in physics research at Sussex University.
3. First American Deaf Person to Earn a M.D. and Ph.D.
Dr. Judith Pachciarz, or “Dr. Judy,” had always dreamed of being a doctor. She studied medicine at the University of Louisville School of Medicine, (1979) where the invention of TDD (Telecommunications Device for the Deaf) helped her study alongside hearing students. The bioengineering department even modified an oscilloscope so that she could “see” heart & lung sounds.
Dr. Judy’s career has been illustrious. Since graduating in 1983, she has been chief resident in pathology, director of blood transfusion services, and medical director of the World Games for the deaf. She has always strived to have an active role with patient care and to mentor people with disabilities.
4. Ref for the Deaf
Ref for the Deaf is nifty vibrating bracelet for deaf players who can’t hear a referee’s whistle. Eighth-grader Celia Beron, with help from her father and the University of Texas at Dallas, invented the device. Celia’s father, Kurt, and the university have patented the technology and are currently studying market options for the bracelet. Have you heard anything about it?
To learn more:
Read: Texas News article
The AcceleGlove is an electronic glove that can translate ASL into spoken word or text. Sensors in the glove generate signals from movements, placement, and positioning on the hand and fingers. It also looks cool.
The glove’s creator is Dr. Jose Hernandez-Rebollar. While working as a visiting assistant professor at George Washington University, he devoted his time to help the deaf communicate more easily with the hearing. We include him because, while he isn’t deaf, he has had to deal with language barriers. He received a Fullbright scholarship to study in the U.S. while at University if Mexico. The initial transition was not easy, and he commented that he wished he had learned more English or attained a greater understanding of cultures before studying abroad.
He says the goal for the AcceleGlove is “not to fix deafness. The idea is to provide an instrument that can translate ASL to other languages.”
(this article was edited by Tyler Nelson at CaptionMax)