Personal Digital Assistants Technologies For Blind People

In 2009, a group of engineers innovated an idea of a new device to help blind people to perceive banknotes and coins by voice [20]. After six years of development, now their idea has joined the market as small handheld currency readers that announce the type of banknote and coin for the user aloud either via a speaker or through headphones. Many complain about the lack of devices and products which support the Arabic language. NATTIQ Technologies [21] has programmed and supported some of the innovations in Arabic such as the color identifier device. But there is still a demand to impress on mainstream manufacturers the importance of considering the Arab blind when designing products. There is a great need to have personal digital assistants devices for the Arab blind as well as blind across the globe.

Personal Digital Assistants Technologies

Mary Pat Radabaugh, 1993, stated that: “For people without disabilities, technology makes life easier. For people with disabilities, technology makes life possible”. The technology that turns life to be possible for disabled individuals is called assistive technology, and its the main objective is to provide individuals with disabilities better quality of life, more independence, and social inclusion in general. Based on the O. Lahav study [22], there are two major types of assistive technology. The first technology is in-situ aids, which helps users with more information while being in the environment itself. Second, is the preplanning aids, which provides users with information ahead and before being in an environment. For example, tactile screens and digital audio are preplanning aids.

Reading and writing technologies PD

As with Braille keyboards and screen reading software have been developed by assistive technology manufacturers. An example shown in the book, Encyclopedia of Perception [15], there are scanner software which can scan and read loudly any printed material. This technology enables users to choose content shown on any portion of the screen, and change over it into voice or Braille output. It reads and converts numbers and letters only. They cannot understand photos or pictures, and therefore, identifying images or graphical information is not possible. Refreshable Braille displays are another output option but are considerably expensive.

Smartphone Applications

Most of the blind use a cane which limits the use of multiple hand-held items. To solve this issue, researchers found a new approach using a smartphone application to assist blind people. Most blind can handle a cane and a smartphone. Smartphones development, in specific, has been very useful because of their combined features with cameras and other various assistive technologies that have been developed to aid the BVI people, as shown in O. Lahav [22] and Kouroupetroglou [23] studies. These technologies help blind individuals read signs, identify their location in the street by receiving auditory directions and utilizing touch to move along the street and find their way to their destinations. Nevertheless, utilizing smartphone applications have certain challenges: e. g. , the trouble in knowing where to put the smartphone camera to get appropriate pictures and the got to hold the smartphone in one hand whereas holding a cane within the other, thus making it troublesome to open entrances or press buttons. Thus, a better solution is always needed.

Similarly in José Cecílio's book in 2015 [10], presented an indoor framework for the dazzle that's outlined for open regions and employments a smartphone and a framework of guide sensors spread around the environment. It answers client questions; and gives portrayals of places, items, and administrations. The framework recognizes users’ areas interior a building through the signals from reference points that are pre-installed on the dividers. When a blind user demands headings interior a given building, the application assembles data from the closest signals and recovers the significant area data put away in its database. In any case, the framework does not work in case there are no pre-installed reference points nor any overhauls to the earlier portrayal of a open building by located individuals. The researcher still works in the development stage. A new approach proposed by King Saud University, Riyadh in 2018 [24]. The researchers worked in programming a smartphone application supported by Google glasses that benefit Arab blind. Their study began with studying previous research approaches, then programming the application in Arabic. Although the need for application is extremely important, and because it is now just for the Android system, the results show that it needs to be developed to reach all smartphones types.

Wearable Technology

A BVI individual may already carry a steady cane whereas strolling, and consequently, looks for reasonable wearable gadgets that permit hands-free interaction or require negligible utilize of the hands. From here, later studies have started to utilize wearable gadgets such as Apple Watch and Google Glass.

15 Jun 2020
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