Meta (formerly Facebook) has added video relay services (VRS) to its Portal video calling devices, to bring English or Spanish sign language interpreters into video conversations.
To bring this new feature social media giant has collaborated with ZP Better Together, a tech firm that makes communication solutions for deaf and hard-of-hearing users.
“ZP and Meta are introducing a powerful new experience for people who use American Sign Language. The combination of ZP’s apps and video relay service with the Portal’s AI-powered Smart Camera that automatically keeps people in frame is game-changing. It delivers simplicity, connectivity, and the freedom to move and communicate using both hands,” Mike Shebanek, Meta Head of Accessibility said in a statement.
In addition to ZP’s VRS apps, Portal offers a variety of third-party apps that let you connect with friends, family and colleagues as well as apps and features to keep you entertained. Use Messenger, WhatsApp, Microsoft Teams or Zoom to connect with friends or coworkers.
Back in November 2019 when Facebook began selling the Portal TV, the device which lets the user do video chat using their own TV as the screen, was quickly dismissed by industry reviewers and privacy experts.
There are four Facebook Portal gadgets, including a big one that initially launched in 2018, two frame-sized devices and the $149 Portal TV, which uses TV as a big video chat screen and provides really high-quality wide-angle lenses.