Samsung's Ultrasonic Cover allows the blind to 'see' with their smartphones
Slip-on case bounces soundwaves off surroundings and vibrates to alert the user
It may seem counterintuitive but the smartphone revolution has proved to be a boon for the visually impaired.
Although these gadgets don’t offer physical buttons or distinctive textures, the use of assistive software that gives audio and vibration feedback (as well as various sensors) has transformed smartphones into smart seeing eyes.
A bog-standard GPS-enabled travel app can help someone navigate public transport when equipped with voice controls, while an app that uses the smartphone camera to recognise different denominations can help individuals sort money at the tills.
Now, a trio of new accessories from Samsung is promising to help smartphones provide even more assistance to disabled and visually impaired users.
An Ultrasonic Cover will help users navigate cluttered streets; an Optical Scan Stand reads text placed in front of it aloud, and a Voice Label system lets users ‘tag’ objects with NFC stickers that load audio notes recorded by the user.
The Ultrasonic Cover is perhaps the most exciting of the three. Simply slip it around the Galaxy Core Advance (a low-range handset with a 4.7-inch screen) and Samsung says it will use ultrasound (sound waves with a frequency beyond human hearing) to detect objects in front of the user, bouncing them off the phone's surroundings and vibrating when something might be about to block the user's path.
Although Samsung is known for churning out smartphones and accessories of various specifications it’s not always that they do so with such altruistic purpose.
With an estimated 285 million people visually impaired people living across the globe and with smartphones becoming cheaper and cheaper, technology like this could help change the lives of many – as well as offer some good business for the companies that sell them.
Life & Style blogs
The best Oscar dresses of all time
The remarkable archaeological underwater discovery that could open up a new chapter in the study of European and British prehistory
Google Plus might be dead, as ‘Streams’ and ‘Photos’ take its place
Mother's Day 2015: When is it – and how did it first come about?
Samsung Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 edge launch and review: wireless charging and new case see Samsung ready to take on Apple's iPhone
New theory could prove how life began and disprove God
This is what it's like to be dead, according to a guy who died for a bit
'Jihadi John': CAGE representative storms off Sky News accusing Kay Burley of Islamophobia
Ukip would cut billions from Scottish budget to fund English tax cuts
End of the licence fee: BBC to back radical overhaul of how it is funded
Russia's roadmap for annexing eastern Ukraine 'leaked from Vladimir Putin's office'
- 1 End of the licence fee: BBC to back radical overhaul of how it is funded
- 2 Raif Badawi, the Saudi Arabian blogger sentenced to 1,000 lashes, may now face death penalty
- 3 PornHub turns masturbation into energy in bid to save the planet
- 4 Dakota Johnson's 'It's only Isis' Saturday Night Live sketch sparks controversy
- 5 The remarkable archaeological underwater discovery that could open up a new chapter in the study of European and British prehistory
iJobs Gadgets & Tech
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This accelerated growth ISP company is current...
£40000 - £50000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior Systems Administra...
£35000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A fantastic opportunity for a t...
£18000 - £23000 per annum + OTE: SThree: SThree Group has been well establishe...