10. 16. 2008
Making cell phones more accessible to the blind
Bringing the benefits of technology to the visually impaired is a challenge since designing devices for them requires thinking unconventionally along with an increased sensitivity to their needs. Take the example of cell phones - they are everywhere but all that they have offered for those who have problems with figuring out where the keys are is the "dimple" on the 5 key. Japanese designer, Takumi Yoshida took on the task of coming up with a cell phone that would be solely designed for the blind. She started off by conducting extensive user research, interviews, observations and testing with students from the Royal National Institute of Blind People, United Kingdom. The result is the SENS concept phone.
The SENS phone cleverly uses a combination of touch sensors and the regular phone keys to provide an audible feedback to the user. So when a person presses a certain key, the phone informs him what key has been pressed without actually considering it as a normal key press. If that is indeed the desired key, the user can press it again and this time, it will be taken as an input. A click sound will be also be provided so that the user knows his choice has been registered. The user may hover across the keys to gain feedback on which key is being currently touched. SENS also has an integrated bluetooth option to ensure that only the user gets to hear the audio feedback in public areas. To those users who can detect a certain level of illumination, there is color illumination on the side to indicate various status messages like low battery, incoming call and so on.
Via Core 77