Clarity Ensemble phone for the elderly captions calls on the fly

LAS VEGAS—A phone for the hard of hearing might sound like a flawed premise, but Clarity's Ensemble seems like a good fit for the elderly and people with hearing loss. The company was showing off the unit at its booth at CES, and I stopped by for a closer look.

The phone looks like your traditional land line, but features an Android-powered touch panel in lieu of a traditional keypad. Text and buttons on the touch panel are scalable to make them easier to read, and the unit connects to the Internet via Wi-Fi. The Ensemble runs a stripped down version Android to make it a bit more accessible.

The Ensemble's coolest and arguably most useful feature is its ability to live caption your voicemails and phone conversations. By pressing a button on the phone during a call, users are able to see what the other person is saying in real-time. You can also save transcripts to the phone for later.

Clarity will start shipping the Ensemble this week, and the phone will retail for $229.

For more blogs, stories, photos, and video from the nation's largest consumer electronics show, check out complete coverage of CES 2013 from PCWorld and TechHive.

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