StenoKnight CART Services: Realtime Captioning
		for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing
How does CART work, and what does it look like? There are three basic elements to every CART setup: The CART provider, the steno machine, and the output device. The first two variables tend to stay the same, but the third can change depending on the preferences of the CART user.

The options I offer are:

  • CART on Laptop
  • CART on Tablet
  • Ambulatory CART
  • Remote CART
  • Projected CART

  • 7-inch Samsung Q1 tablet PC and 12-inch Lenovo SL400 laptop, with Revolution Grand steno machine.

    Here's my most common configuration: My steno machine (and/or optional tablet PC) on its tripod next to my laptop, which can rest either on its own tripod or on a table. Both the CART provider and the CART user read from the same screen, so they usually sit relatively close to each other. The steno machine connects to the laptop wirelessly via Bluetooth, and there are many different font options to choose from.

    Here's a video of CART in action. I recorded this in one take, without editing. This is essentially what a CART client will see in the classroom when viewing on the laptop. The tablet display is similar, but the viewing area is smaller, so the client can choose either a smaller font size or to have fewer lines on the screen at a time.

    CART of an excerpt from a lecture on bioengineering by Professor Douglas Lauffenburger.
    Used under a Creative Commons license from MIT's Open Course Ware Project.

    For the story behind why I'm smirking in this picture, visit my blog.

    The second display option is my tablet computer, a Samsung Q1. It's smaller and can be useful in situations where a big laptop is too bulky or conspicuous. The CART user can stand it up on a table or carry it around the room. Again, the steno machine connects wirelessly, so as long as the CART provider can hear the speaker, the CART user can read the output anywhere they like, within a range of about 40 feet. For people who don't always want to sit next to the CART provider, this can be a good option.

    The walkaround rig is available on request, but needs to be arranged ahead of time.
    Photo on left by Brian Kim of 501 Tech Club NYC.

    The wireless tablet can also be mounted on my steno machine, and I can travel from place to place using a Connect-A-Desk. This is a great option for ambulatory events, such as networking mixers, open houses, or museum tours. I stand next to whoever the CART user is speaking to, and they can read off the display by just glancing over discreetly. Alternatively, they can hold the wireless display in their hand and I can stand a short distance away, allowing for a conversation that feels freer and more unmediated. For the ultimate in portable CART, I can run the display through StreamText, a third-party internet server, and the user can connect to the live streaming site using the web browser on their smartphone. The font size is smaller than on the tablet, but it's the most unobtrusive and lightweight option.

    A screenshot from the StreamText display of Dr. King's "I Have a Dream" speech. Click through for an animated demo.

    StreamText is also the service I use to provide remote CART via the internet to people all over the country. Because it's streamed over the internet, remote CART has a bit more of a lag than onsite CART, and audio quality is of paramount importance in ensuring accuracy. Finding the right microphone and putting it where it can pick up multiple speakers can be surprisingly tricky, so all new remote CART jobs need at least one dry run before the class or event takes place.

    StenoKnight's CART display from the New York Public Library's Pursuit of Silence event. Photo by Peter Foley.

    The last option is projected CART, with or without simultaneous streaming to the internet. When an event needs to be made inclusive, projecting the CART display for the benefit of the entire room can be the best way to provide universal access for Deaf, late deafened, and hard of hearing people, as well as people who might have some degree of hearing loss but who don't self-identify as hard of hearing or deaf. CART is also useful for English language learners and people with dyslexia, auditory processing disorder, or ADHD. When the CART display is available to every audience member, no one has to feel singled out or as if they're demanding special privileges. Everyone benefits.

    Another shot of the NYPL event. This photo also by Peter Foley.