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Ray Smartphone For The Blind

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The Ray smartphone features eye-free operation for the blind and visually impaired…

A new smartphone device developed by Israeli firm Ray and semiconductor manufacturer Qualcomm aims to allow the blind to communicate by using haptic and audio feedback.

The Ray device, bears a resemblance to a standard smartphone, and while it functions in almost exactly the same way, the interface has been customized specifically for eye-free operation.

The handset features a touchscreen display with haptic feedback, voice control, text-to-speech and audio feedback, all of which work together to allow the user to make calls, send text messages, interact with social media networks and remote manage other devices without looking at the screen.

ray eye free smartphone for blind and visually impaired 550x354 Ray Smartphone For The Blind

Ray Smartphone for the Blind

Image Credit: Ray, 2012.

Boaz Zilberman, CEO of Project Ray, the developer of the interface, said in a statement.

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 phones 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.

Ray is made using off-shelf Android hardware and is powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon processor, which means production costs can be keep reasonably low.

Developing a smartphone for the blind would eliminate the need for the visually impaired to reply on Braille, special navigation tools, audio-book readers and voice enabled systems. Instead they could just turn to one single device.

We’ve already seen solutions that employ smartphones to help translate sign language into speech, but the Ray device is the first device to offer the blind a better way to utilize modern communication devices.

Trails of the Ray device are already underway in Israel, where subscribers can use the device to download audio books and magazines from the country’s Central Library for the Blind, Visually Impaired and Handicapped. However the project aims to provide much more in the way of content in the future.

The device will officially go on sale through the online store on Novemeber 20th, 2012.


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