A Touchscreen Smartphone for the Blind to Use
Published on: 23rd Oct 2012
Note -- this news article is more than a year old.
By: Ian Mansfield
Qualcomm and Project RAY which designs accessibility tools for blind and visually impaired people today announced that they have developed the RAY mobile device a smartphone that is synchronized with Israel's Central Library for the Blind Visually Impaired and Handicapped audio books content.
Today, the majority of blind and visually impaired people use simple 2G mobile phones for voice telephony only. In addition, they depend on an array of specialty devices which are prohibitively expensive.
Based on an off-the-shelf Android OS smartphone powered by Qualcomm's Snapdragon processor, the Project RAY device integrates the capabilities of smartphone technology and the capabilities of these multiple specialty devices into a single handset and a UI designed for eye-free interaction.
A trial project is currently underway that is testing the new system with 100 participants throughout Israel.
"The breakthrough UI defines a new language for human-device interaction that is built ground-up for eye-free operation," said Boaz Zilberman, chief executive officer of Project RAY. "The user touches any position on the screen and that position becomes the starting point for selecting an audio-book, messaging or other activity. Navigation is enabled by a few simple finger movements in different directions. The phone's built-in vibration capabilities and voice prompts provide user feedback and the UI learns to adapt its behavior based on users' preferences and usage patterns."
The UI supports a rich set of services, including phone calls, text messaging with vocal read-out, navigation, object recognition, social network services, remote assistance, audio-book reading, and other leisure and entertainment offerings.