Sunday, 23 October 2011

New Generation of Smartphones Offers Better Voice Recognition to the Visually Impaired

It seems that after the Samsung Galaxy S II surprised at least me with extremely good voice control for daily operation, Apple´s iPhone is next to make life easier for the Disabled, and everybody who would rather talk than type. Technology is getting there, and as a care manager I can only be happy for the people with visual and other physical impairments that make it difficult to operate devices the traditional way.

The iPhone 4S brings a better camera and a dual-core processor, but “Siri is the reason people should buy this phone,” Wired says. The voice-recognition technology is the logical next step after Apple’s touch-screen interface, providing users a more natural way to interact with their devices. With Siri, it takes about three seconds to create a reminder with a voice command, ridding users of the need to type events into a to-do list or calendar entry. Siri today is limited to apps like e-mail, SMS, phone, iPod, calendar, Web search, looking up directions and finding restaurants and businesses, but has the potential for a lot more. “Imagine how important this tool is for the visually impaired—their lives are about to get much easier. In the coming years, voice control is going to be huge.”

More Linux distributions are now coming with tools aiding acessibility right from the start, either already enabled or at least easy to start from the menu. I shall be writing about this more in future, including a looong overdue review of Vinux, a Linux distribution specifically tailored with the visually impaired in mind. I was originally going to write it in April this year. Don´t beat me. Have a good week everybody.

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