Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Eye-Free Mobile Device Developed

Qualcomm Incorporated through its Wireless Reach™ initiative and Project RAY Ltd. announced that they have developed the RAY mobile device. The RAY is an always-on, easy-to-use, multi-function smartphone synchronized with Israel’s Central Library for the Blind, Visually Impaired and Handicapped audio books content.

According to the World Health Organization, 285 million people are visually impaired worldwide, 39 million are blind, and 246 million have low vision. About 65 percent of all people who are visually impaired are 50 and older. With an increasing elderly population in many countries, more people will be at risk of age-related visual impairment.

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, special bar-code scanners, and large-buttoned voice-enabled MP3 players which are prohibitively expensive.

Based on the off-the-shelf Android OS smartphone powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon™ processor, the RAY device integrates the capabilities of smartphone technology and the capabilities of multiple specialty devices into a single, cost-effective handset with 24/7 mobile broadband connectivity and a UI designed for eye-free interaction.

The UI supports 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. A trial project is currently underway that is testing the new system with 100 participants throughout Israel.

“Subscribers can use RAY devices to easily access and download audio assets from the library over an advanced mobile broadband network rather than waiting to receive CD copies,” said Amos Beer, Chief Executive Officer of the Central Library for the Blind, Visually Impaired, and Handicapped.

For more information, go to www.project-ray.com.