Qualcomm has partnered with Project RAY, a group devoted to improving the lives of blind and visually challenged people through technology, to create a smartphone specifically for those that can’t see. There’s a variety of apps developed for smartphones that take advantage of technology originally developed for sighted folks to help those that are blind.
The RAY phone is the first smartphone that was specifically developed to be used by the blind, featuring a unique, custom designed user interface that utilizes vibrations and audio cues as part of its repertoire. The phone is currently being trialed by 100 people in Israel where the handsets were interfaced with the country’s Central Library for the Blind, Visually Impaired and Handicapped to provide easy access to books on tape and other reading materials in audio format.
From the press release:
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, such as audio book-readers, color readers, navigation tools, raised Braille labels, special bar-code scanners, and large-buttoned, voice-enabled MP3 players which are prohibitively expensive. Based on an off-the-shelf Android OS smartphone powered by Qualcomm Technologies, Inc.’s Qualcomm Snapdragon™ processor, the Project RAY device integrates the capabilities of smartphone technology and the capabilities of these multiple specialty devices into a single, cost-effective handset with 24/7 mobile broadband connectivity and a UI designed for eye-free interaction.
(hat tip: Engadget)