The Cure For Young Fast Talkers: A Mobile Phone That Slows Them Down

from the speak...-more...-slowly...-please... dept

In the last year or so, there’s been plenty of talk about creating mobile phones for the elderly where their needs may be different (bigger buttons and bigger displays are a frequent request… along with fewer features). However, who knew that one of the complaints of the elderly (at least according to Japanese telco NTT DoCoMo) is that the people they were talking to talk too fast? Apparently it’s an issue, and for some reason, asking them to speak slower wasn’t an effective solution. So, the wizards at Fujitsu have built a special phone for DoCoMo which will be targeted at the elderly that (no, seriously) will slow… down… the… speech… of… the… person… you’re… talking… to. It’s designed to slow down their speech to about 70% of the speed that they’re actually talking, elongating each word. However, to avoid too much of the “lag” problem, it makes sure that you never get more than 1 full second behind. If it hits a second, it speeds back up to real time. The phone has all the other standard features of a phone for the elderly (large display, large buttons), and also a built in pedometer and an 80-decibel alarm in case they “they should fall over and need to attract attention.” Unfortunately, when someone comes to help them in person, the elderly person (apparently) won’t be able to understand their rescuer since they’ll probably be speaking too fast and there’s still no tool for them to slow down the speech of the person standing in front of you.

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Comments on “The Cure For Young Fast Talkers: A Mobile Phone That Slows Them Down”

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TJ says:

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Two women in their 50s that I know work in customer service, lots of face-to-face and phone time. They frequently talk about how so many younger people (20s to early 30s) talk too fast to understand, especially people from the coasts. Most people try to slow down when asked, but return to their regular speech patterns almost immediately out of habit.

So I can see uses for such tech for even the middle-aged. But how well is it working when it returns to normal speed once it gets one second behind? And yeah, what does one do when talking in person?

What would be nice is if life wasn’t so hurried/pressured today that many young people are in a habit of speaking so fast that technology is actually being developed so people just a few generations older can understand them.

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