New smartphone an aid to the blind

July 17, 2012 at 12:04 AM
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LONDON, July 17 (UPI) -- A smartphone to help the blind with tasks like using public transport, reading printed text and pinpointing location is on sale in Britain, its developers say.

The phone, dubbed Georgie, has a touchscreen incorporating voice-assist menus and a suite of apps to help blind and partially-sighted people navigate their way around their environment, the BBC reported.

The phone, designed by blind husband-and-wife team Roger and Margaret Wilson-Hinds from Peterborough, is named Georgie after Mrs. Wilson-Hinds' first guide dog.

The smartphone allows users to dial a number through the voice-assisted touchscreen, and uses speech input to send text messages.

Other apps are available in three different categories -- travel, lifestyle and communication.

"Research continues to show that many blind and partially-sighted people struggle with the complexity of today's smartphone technology," Robin Spinks of the Royal National Institute of Blind People said.

"Georgie is to be commended for allowing users to access the features of a range of modern smartphones in an easy-to-use and accessible manner," he said.

The phone is available from $450, or people who own an Android smartphone can get a downloadable suite of apps from Google Play for $230.

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