Designer sets sights on visual impairment iPhone case
We didn't see that one coming
Visual impairment shouldn’t stop you from making the most of Apple’s iPhone, at least according to the inventor of a concept iPhone case with the blind in mind.
This case supposedly helps the blind use an iPhone
Designer Bruno Fosi said that his tactile silicon iPhone case is suitable for the visually impaired because of the “engraved bas-relief” icons and cover the phone’s screen. These, together with a specially designed application, let the user access the iPhone’s features.
The chunky icons are laid out according to the moon type tactile alphabet, enabling the user to navigate their way into the SMS application, type out a message and send it. The accompanying app's text-to-speech feature also tell you what's been said in SMS replies.
Bas-relief icons for many of the iPhone’s other features, including music, making calls and sending emails, are also built onto the case.
The case does have several drawbacks, though. For example, taking pictures and surfing the web will still be pretty difficult, if not to say pointless.
No plans to manufacture Fosi’s concept iPhone case have been announced.
Not too great
Let me first say I'm actually blind myself.
Small point here, noone uses moon. Next to noone. Braille maybe, but not universal... but moon is pretty rare. It just isn't space efficient enough.
As to touch screens, look up the Meistro and Trekker devices at www.humanware.com. That/s an interesting set up where tyey use an overlay over the screen. There is also a package called Mobilespeak Pocket for Pocket PC PDAs (windows mobile), cna't eremeber the address right now but they have an option where you place your pointer on the screen and it announces the keys on a virtual keyboard as you move around. It doesn't use the standard one, it uses the whole screen as an audio virtual keyboard. These things can be worked around.
Most people who use speaking phones use the various versions of Mobile Speak, or Talks at www.nuance.com/talks. There are other phones that have integrated speech, but they're aimed at the older market and are very primitive. I'm perfectly happy with my Nokia E65 and Talks combination, which cost me about £150 for the Talks software from a UK distributor on top of the phone. I dread to think how much the talking set up for the iPhone would cost since specially designed hardware of any kind tends to bump up the price, a prime example being the visually impaired designed Pac Mate running Windows Mobile (www.freedomscientific.com) fpr the princely sum of $2,450, or from a UK reseller (they all have the same prices so you can't shop around) they charge £1650.
This is a great idea, especially to get it rolling early
I know its not perfect now, but this is a really great idea. The latest fad seems to be touchscreens and these completely ignore the needs of the blind. I don't know anyone who is blind, nor can I begin to appreciate the difficulties they must have in this ever increasing technology driven world, but I can speculate at the frustrations this would present when all the latest and greatest new devices don't offer tactile response. I for one, can't stand touch screen because I like to feel the keys under my fingers, but I never considered it a necessity.
"Blind" isn't a boolean attribute
"taking pictures and surfing the web will still be pretty difficult, if not to say pointless."
Whilst a totally blind photographer would be unusual (though NCIS did make a good episode based around one), someone with some residual sight might want to take a picture of an object or sign to show someone later - and every the totally blind do surf the web using audio-browsers.