When digital sound files are sent over the Internet and received via these boxes, how will the boxes turn the sound into text for deaf people?
Research into the ability to incorporate these alternate output modes into inexpensive information appliances can result in more accessible low-end browsers for every citizen, including blind and deaf people. Incorporation of new access standards into digital media formats (such as QuickTime, Active Video, and RealAudio) will facilitate the ability of low-end browsers to display incorporated access technologies. All of these research challenges can be addressed in the short term (one to five years), except perhaps for the need for a fully capable speech recognition technology, which, after 20 or more years of effort, still requires many years to approach the speed, accuracy, and other capabilities needed for use by deaf people.
It has been the experience of those in the world of media access that these design and research challenges are not complex (certainly not as complex as the creation of the new media themselves). When focused attention and resources are applied to the problems, solutions are readily discovered, especially when approached by consortia of public and private practitioners and researchers. Early awareness and design-from-the-blueprint-stage thinking obviate the need for expensive and inefficient retrofits that are resisted by producers and consumers alike.