PARENTDEAF-HH: VisionLink - Personal Videoconferencing System

Key Words: Deaf education information, deafness related issues, technologies

Subj: Fwd: Visual Telecommunication Press Release
Date: 97-06-04 17:31:43 EDT
From: (Mike Wilson)



Sorenson Vision Introduces VisionLink - Personal Videoconferencing System for the Deaf

World's first desktop video solution is designed to allow communication using American Sign Language (ASL) over standard analog telephone lines.

CUPERTINO, Calif.-May 23, 1997-Sorenson Vision, Inc., a privately held, Utah-based company, has introduced VisionLink, an affordable, personal videoconferencing system designed to allow the Deaf to communicate over ordinary telephone lines. Running under the Windows 95 operating system on any fast (133 MHz minimum; 166 MHz or above recommended) Intel Pentium based personal computer, the video-only solution lets Deaf people interact face-to-face at a distance with friends, family and business associates. The product is also expected to have a number of security and surveillance applications.

With the help of an NTSC video camera and video capture card (purchased separately or bundled with the software) and 28.8 kbps or higher modem, VisionLink provides unprecedented picture quality in a desktop videoconferencing system. The solution uses sophisticated technology based on a mathematical technique known as vector quantization (VQ) to deliver a high-resolution, full-color picture at up to 15 frames per second (half of broadcast television). This ensures the crispness and clarity needed to convey the intricate hand movements of ASL.

"VisionLink is truly a breakthrough product for the Deaf community," said M. Ray Brooksby, vice president of sales and marketing for Sorenson Vision. "While most people take for granted the ability to pick up the telephone to talk with someone, the Deaf have been restricted to relatively impersonal text-based exchanges using TTYs or PCs. With VisionLink, the Deaf will have access to easy, affordable, fully interactive distance communication for the first time."

The VisionLink solution features a highly intuitive user interface that offers outstanding flexibility and ease of use. Users can increase the system's frame rate to improve motion-handling capability when there's a lot of movement, enhance the resolution for higher picture quality during times of less movement, or even adjust the size of the video inset on the PC's monitor. Dialing a phone number is accomplished by simply clicking an on-screen icon. And a Help function is available as needed.

In addition to regular telephone lines, users can also connect over a high-speed ISDN (Integrated Services Digital Network) service or the Internet with even better results. Installation using the supplied CD-ROM or diskettes is simple and fast.

Beta-tested extensively by a group of Deaf users in recent months, VisionLink has met with consistently good reviews.

"This is a remarkable product," said Gary Roush of Simi Valley, CA. "I have used VisionLink to communicate visually with my associates and have been amazed at its clarity and speed. VisionLink represents a long awaited breakthrough in communication technology for the Deaf!"

VisionLink will begin shipping May 26th. Suggested retail price ofthe software-only solution is $149. Suggested retail for VisionLink software and a video capture card is $249, and for a bundle including software, video capture card and camera is $449.

Based in Logan, Utah, Sorenson Vision, Inc. was founded by James L. Sorenson, noted businessman and holder of more than 50 patents for products and processes in a variety of fields-from medicine to cosmetics. Among Sorenson's other companies are DataChem Laboratories, Sorex Medical, Sorenson Laboratories, and Sorenco Laboratories.

VisionLink is anticipated to be the first in a family of affordable, hardware-driven and software-only solutions for desktop videoconferencing. All products will fully support established international standards (such as the ITU's H.323 and H.324) for desktop video, while offering proprietary modes that provide substantially higher picture quality when communicating with other Sorenson users.

More information about the VisionLink product and a white paper on video compression technology may be found at Sorenson Vision's Web site at

Jon Hodson
Account Manager
(602) 274-2699 TTY/Fax

M. Ray Brooksby
VP of Sales and Marketing
Sorenson Vision, Inc.
19924 Wheaton Drive
Cupertino, CA 95014
Voice: (408) 996-2823
Fax: (408) 996-2873

Mike Wilson
Citrus Heights, CA

Uploaded by: BJ Lawrence/ Kent State University/ Deafed Major