In this week’s edition of Discovered Technologies we present you with the TelOrion Smartphones; smartphones designed for people who are blind or visually impaired.
Vox is the name of the smartphone TelOrion created for people who are blind and Zoom is the phone created specifically for people who are visually impaired.
Vox was presented to me at the 2014 TifloInnova fair in Madrid, Spain by Thibault Péant, the Chief Commercial Officer at TelOrion. Thibault explained that they modified the Android’s interface so that the operating system would display its features in a different way. Since it is difficult for people who are blind to find buttons on a glass screen, the TelOrion engineers decided to create a rubber encasing that divides the screen into sections so as to allow the user to locate the screen’s buttons easily. By doing so, the user is able to interact with the system which emits an audible message upon every user input, which confirms the operations they’re performing. Because of the Vox’s creative audible interface, a blind user is able to send text messages, emails and is also able to use the smartphone’s alarm, agenda, voice recorder, web browser, Daisy reader, radio application, and even newspapers.
The Zoom phone is very similar to the Vox, except it doesn’t come with the rubber encasing. It allows its users to change the colors easily by accessing a menu and it also enables users to change the size of its interface by placing both fingers on the screen and moving them closer together for smaller text or farther apart for larger text. The screen automatically scrolls the text so the user can read it easily. The modified operating system also allows users to make use of the smartphone’s native features. One of Zoom’s most interesting functions is one called ‘Loup’ which means magnifying glass in french. It allows the user to magnify printed text by means of taking a picture with the smartphone’s camera. Not only will it increase the size of the text, but it wil also allow you to reverse the colors from black text on a white background, to white text on a black background. It also allows the user to change the colors to yellow text on a blue background as these colors are known to help some visually impaired people to read. The operating system comes in different languages including English.
Both of these products are groundbreaking in terms of making smartphones accessible to people who are blind or visually impaired.