An app helps deaf users catch phone calls

Convo Lights

The Convo Lights app is made to empower deaf people to “hear” when a phone is ringing, and then to have a conversation via a sign language interpreter.

Working with Philips Hue, the Wi-Fi enabled light bulbs, the system can change color of the light, or turn on and off when an incoming phone call is detected. This means that deaf people can catch phone calls that they would otherwise have missed.

With Convo Lights, deaf people can catch phone calls that they would otherwise have missed.Convo itself is a deaf-owned and operated company that provides video phone and translation services to the deaf community. Their Lights app lets users create personalized ringtones of light to identify incoming callers, and adjust the brightness in a room to make sign language easier to see onscreen.

“Before Convo Lights, we missed over 50 per cent of our calls,” says Russ Stein, the deaf owner of Mozzeria pizzeria in San Francisco. “Now we are on a par with non-deaf businesses and only miss five per cent. Convo Lights help us run a more profitable business – we’re experiencing a higher volume of reservations and we feel like we’re able to walk into our own restaurant completely at ease, knowing that we will catch each call.”

Following the success of Convo Lights, the technology is now being adapted in collaboration with Philips to allow greater home automation for deaf people, including light alerts for door bells and smoke alarms.

“In making its API available to others, Philips Hue has empowered us to create a natural and smooth calling experience for the deaf community with Convo Lights,” said Jarrod Musano, chief executive of Convo.