Qualcomm has collaborated with Project RAY to develop a new multi-function mobile device for the blind and visually impaired. RAY is based on an off-the-shelf Android smartphone powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon processor. The easy-to-use device integrates the capabilities of smartphone technology and the capabilities of multiple specialty devices into a single handset.
RAY has a user interface designed for eye-free interaction with services including 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. Wired reports that finger gestures allow users to navigate to their desired function, with haptic vibrations and voice alerts to guide them. The device also learns the habits and preferences of users over time to improve the experience. 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.