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Gadget Freak Case #214: Radio Touch Sensors Talk to the Smartphone
5/21/2012

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Matt Oppenheim has devised a radio that speaks to an Android smartphone to help the visually impaired learn the layout of a new device.
Matt Oppenheim has devised a radio that speaks to an Android smartphone to help the visually impaired learn the layout of a new device.

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Nancy Golden
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Platinum
Not Just Visually Impaired
Nancy Golden   5/21/2012 10:10:56 AM
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Now that is a great idea. I can see this type of application having other uses as well. For those who are not technologically savvy, this would help them too. It could also be used for product demos.

NadineJ
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Platinum
Much needed
NadineJ   5/21/2012 12:51:53 PM
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This is really cool.  As a large part of the population (Boomers) continues to age, it will be needed.

Considering how many people I saw staring at the solar eclipse yesterday without proper eyewear, it may be needed by younger generations sooner than later!

Rob Spiegel
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Blogger
Re: Much needed
Rob Spiegel   5/21/2012 3:05:55 PM
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That's funny NadineJ. I was out there trying not to look at the sun yesterday. It was hard to resist. I couldn't see much. I tried the hole in the paper, but that wasn't very exciting. Finally I went to the CNN site to get a good view.

jhankwitz
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Voice Over
jhankwitz   5/22/2012 9:36:43 AM
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Great to see that the Blind are now able to use Android too.  Here at Industries for the Blind, all our people use iPhones because iOS has always had this capability built into the system.  Our blind workers are able to navigate their iPhones faster than I can. They just go into Settings > General > Accessibility > and turn 'Voice Over' ON.

mrdon
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Gold
Cool Application for the Arduino
mrdon   5/22/2012 3:53:27 PM
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What a cool and beneficial device to aid the blind in using Consumer Electronic products. The Arduino is a great electronics hardware platform to use in developing all types of innovative consumer and industrial products. In terms of Smartphone applications, I'm developing a robot controller device using a Motorola DroidX smartphone, a LEGO NXT, and an Arduino. By touching the DroidX screen, I can control motors, LEDs, or high current devices with an Arduino being the primary control driver using Bluetooth tech. This controls application project is being develop for an Arduino book I'm currently writing for Apress books.

MattO
User Rank
Iron
Re: Cool Application for the Arduino
MattO   5/22/2012 4:29:52 PM
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Thanks for your interest in the device. The electronics is so cheap to implement that I hope that manufacturers will implement it in their products as a routine, to help folk who can't see the controls easily.

I look forwards to seeing your book from Apress.

MattO
User Rank
Iron
Re: Not Just Visually Impaired
MattO   5/22/2012 4:33:18 PM
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Another application I considered was on the controls of e.g. a crane, so that the operator did not have to take his eyes off the load while finding which button or lever he needed. This would be more useful in training, as an experienced operator probably wouldn't need the voice prompt anymore.

I found in testing that once folk learned the layout of a new device using the audio tags, the voice then became annoying. So you need an 'off' switch!

Nancy Golden
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Platinum
Re: Not Just Visually Impaired
Nancy Golden   5/22/2012 4:40:25 PM
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In that case MattO, it could be standard issue on cell phones too. Since people refuse to stop using them when they are driving - they could keep their eyes on the road when dialing.

mrdon
User Rank
Gold
Re: Cool Application for the Arduino
mrdon   5/22/2012 4:59:47 PM
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Hi Matt,

Just for your reference, I have an Arduino book scheduled for a mid June publication date you might be interested in. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1430242663/ref=s9_simh_gw_p14_d0_g14_i1?pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_s=center-2&pf_rd_r=0067HQG8WSB96QY7H6C5&pf_rd_t=101&pf_rd_p=470938631&pf_rd_i=507846

William K.
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Platinum
"radio touch sensors"
William K.   5/23/2012 8:22:27 AM
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Now the next thing that it needs is a way to announce the control function before the control is activated. That would be useful in that it would be able to avoid pushing the wrong button, not just telling someone what they did. Not needed so much on a phone, but certainly valuable on a crane, or driving a car, both places where a wrong command can be very inconvenient. Of course, most cranes don't use touch controls simply because they are both non-determinant and too subject to erronious actuation. In addition, a crane operator does have the time to make sure they have the correct control in hand. 

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