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 Phones for the visually impaired.

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PostSubject: Phones for the visually impaired.   Wed Jun 30, 2010 9:42 am

Having the latest device goes hand in hand when your young. The advances in mobile phone technology over the last few years has surpassed any other piece of personal technology. No sooner than you've purchased your modern mobile phone it has been replaced by another newer, faster, smarter version and your left our in the cold with 'last year's' model.

Access to a mobile phone in the past was pretty much non existent, the technology was not 'there' to assist the user. Screen readers, magnification and tactlessness was certainly not on the agenda.

A few years ago a company Nuance devised a product called 'Talks'. 'Talks' basically reads out aloud the text displayed on the screen. This product is only avaialble on the Symbian operating system, which most recent Nokia phones use. For more information regarding this software, click on the following link to Nuance's website, link. Nuance also provide screen magnification in the form of 'Zooms'. This magnifies the entire screen like ZoomText. For more information on Zooms, click on this link.

The leap in technology has now enabled consumers to effectively have a personal computer in the palm of their hand or in their trouser pocket!

The most popular mobile phone or 'smartphone' is undoubtedly the iPhone. This device has changed the way in which people choose to communicate. Not only can you send and receive calls and texts but you can update your Facebook status, inform your friends of your current movements via Twitter, and carry your entire music collection around with you.

Apple, the iPhone's creators, have enabled their devices with speech and tactile response from the phone, even though the handset has no tactile buttons as it uses a touchscreen!

The 'app' or application that comes as standard on the iPhone 3gs and the recent release of the iPhone 4g is called VoiceOver.

The video below demonstrates the functionality of the application and handset.

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For more details about this feature and handset visit Apple - VoiceOver.

Another mobile developer is a company called Android. Android is not a developer of hardware (the handset) but of software, the Operating System. This is an 'open source' operating system which means that it 'gives away' 'programming tools' to people who are gifted enough to be able to 'program' or develop apps for the operating system.

The Android operating system features on numerous mobile phones, small netbooks (coming to stores near you) and other devices. Take a look at some of the following videos for apps for the Android operating system. NOTE: some of the apps may still be under development.

1) WebTalk:

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2) Introducing Project Eyes-Free For Android:

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3) R-MAP an application on Android for the Blind or Visually impaired:

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Just to update, I found an interesting website talking about augmented reality and the use of mobile phones for the visually impaired, see this link.

Hope this helps! Smile
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