June 15 2022
TOKYO – East Japan Railway Co, or JR East, and others started Wednesday a trial at the railway operator’s Ueno Station in Tokyo of a system to convert station announcements and train sounds into words to assist deaf and hard-of-hearing people.
The system features a display resembling a speech bubble mounted on a beverage vending machine installed on a platform at the station, according to the firms, also including Fujitsu Ltd, Dai Nippon Printing Co and JR East Cross Station Co.
Using artificial intelligence, sounds, including those of a moving train, are converted instantly into words and expressions. The font and size of the words used for station announcements depend on their context and tone. The system will also show sign language.
With the system remaining installed until Dec. 14, the companies will collect data with the aim of putting it into practical use.
The system derived from an idea submitted by a student of a school for the deaf in the city of Kawasaki, Kanagawa Prefecture, south of Tokyo, during a workshop held at the school in July last year.