The first videophone was during the 1964 New York's World's Fair. Due to the technology available then, the product and development was unable to process any further until the early 1990's, thanks to internet/fiber optics. The first people to use the videophone in the 1964 World Fair were deaf people.
In the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Community, the usage of videophones did not reach mass mania in the early 2000's. Largely in thanks to several companies, many deaf and hard of hearing signers were able to get videophones at no cost (in reality, the phone costs about $300 to $1500, depending on model and brand, for any videophone).
The advantage of the videophone was to be able to independently contact hearing people through video relay services, which initiated services in 2002. Not only that, deaf people are able to contact their peers in a long distance or short time manners (i.e. 'availability to come over').
Technology... is a queer thing. It brings you great gifts with one hand, and it stabs you in the back with the other. ~Carrie P. Snow
Even with the regular phone and the TTY (yes, I still remember those days), I had an aversion to phones. I have a videophone and I rarely use it. I am an e-mail or meet in person kind of person. First off, the regular phone? It is pure torture to even hear on it, I quit actually listening on the phone after talking to my uncle when I was maybe 10 or 11. TTY was fine as the written language is a common factor between all people. Now the videophone. This technology has allowed us to be visual and use our native/natural language with no barriers or misunderstandings (I definitely know 'misunderstandings'!). At least with the current videophone I have (Z20), I am able to be independent by pressing the numbers for my account number or an extension number just like any other person.
The whole world is affected by technology in minimal to maximized avenues. I am sure there are thousands of articles and stories on this, but let me get to the material that is relevant. How technology has isolated us as it has freed us from barriers and hard work. It is easily noticeable in the deaf and hard of hearing community because of our smaller sized population. Many assume that the technological/physical contact is only limited to small sized populations, i.e. deaf people, Native Americans, and so forth; however, the reality is that the impact is global.
Technology that has freed us, has isolated us? How can that be? Think about it, the more you use technology, the more you stay away from human contact.
The machine does not isolate man from the great problems of nature but plunges him more deeply into them. ~Antoine de Saint-Exupery
Deaf clubs, especially rural ones, and other organizations, usually small in size are beginning to close down, rendering their operations defunct. Community events usually number in 100's if possible now number 40 in attendance. Young deaf people, especially mainstreamed ones, are out of tune with the reality that they live in. "It is good to find information on the Internet, but I am not going to be bothered going to meet those folks." Power in numbers are diminishing. Good mental and physical health development is limited. Humans thrive on social contact and a computer in between is cutting the 'contact' supply.
We need to see that there are two sides to a technology that has allowed our world to be open and become independent as we always have been, at the same time, we must keep that human connection by seeing and meeting each individual in person. When we allow technology to rule us, we will forget what it is like to be truly human. Truly human with a touch of a hand and a smile for the day.
It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has exceeded our humanity. ~Albert Einstein
To Be Whole
Currently I am an ASL teacher at a local college and at an high school. I received my Masters in Sign Language Education from Gallaudet University. At home, I am an activist within the community, Northwest Indiana. My son is in first grade and my daughter goes to E.C.L.I.P.S.E. ASL Preschool. Change begins with you and change is effective with a team.