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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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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