Project RAY, which designs accessibility tools for blind and visually-impaired people, has announced a new mobile interface that’s designed to be used without sight. It’s been designed in partnership with the Qualcomm Wireless Reach initiative and uses a standard Android smartphone powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon processor.
The new UI supports phone calls, text messaging, navigation, object recognition, social networking, remote assistance, audio-book reading and other leisure & entertainment features. It combines touch-screen controls with vibration and spoken prompts.
Boaz Zilberman, chief executive officer of Project RAY, said “The breakthrough UI defines a new language for human-device interaction that is built ground-up for eye-free operation. 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.”
A trial project in Israel is currently testing the new RAY mobile device with 100 people.
According to the World Health Organization, 285 million people are visually impaired worldwide; 39 million are blind while 246 have low vision.