A few weeks ago I spoke at Inc’s GROWCO conference in Nashville. After my talk, I had a scheduled book signing over in the conference bookstore area.
Most people came up, said hi, chatted a bit, bought a book, shook hands, and then moved on.
But one guy came up, put a laptop-like device on the table, unhinged it, spun one side around to me, flipped up a little screen, and then did the same on his side with his half of the device. It took about 10 seconds to set up. Then he started typing.
The screen was split in two horizontally. At the top was what he was typing. On the bottom was what I was typing. No explanation was necessary – it just worked all in real-time.
We started typing back and forth. I wasn’t sure what was happening at first. Why was I using this thing? What was this thing? I knew how to use it, but what was it for?
Then he explained that he was deaf and that he was using this machine so he could communicate with people without an interpreter or without the other person knowing how to sign.
I was moved. I’ve been in a billion chats before. But this was different. This wasn’t about convenience, this was about necessity. I was able to communicate with someone who couldn’t hear me. He was able to communicate with someone who didn’t understand sign language. We were face to face. It was an amazing moment.
We chatted like this for about 10 minutes.
Turns out, this guy’s name was Jason Curry and he was the inventor of the UbiDuo.
The company and invention was born out of frustration. Back in 2005 he was sitting across from his father at Perkins restaurant for breakfast, but they just couldn’t communicate as freely as he liked because his dad doesn’t know how to sign. That’s where it all started.
Check out this video to see how it works.