Voice accessible smartphone for visually impaired people to be more independent launches
Artificial intelligence (AI) firm RealThing Ai has launched its latest fully voice accessible smartphone, the RealSAM Pocket V4, which is designed for those with sight loss.
The newest smartphone developments aim to meet the daily frustrations that visually impaired people face, including the ease of accessing choices when shopping, challenges in being independently mobile, and a need for a reliable solution to read text in confidential situations, such as banking and healthcare.
Now faster, more powerful and with upgraded visual clarity, RealSAM Pocket V4 boasts features such as Optical Character Recognition (OCR), Object Recognition, and an enhanced Emergency On-call Assistant to support independent living. The features are designed to make everyday tasks, such as cooking and completing shopping, easier.
People can use the smartphone to set a reminder detailing their shopping list, use guided navigation to walk independently to the supermarket, and receive reminders to avoid known pitfalls such as high kerbs or low hanging trees.
Its voice activated Object Recognition and OCR features enables users to review items on a supermarket shelf, compare prices and select products with a preferred sell by date.
UK Country Manager for RealThing Ai Louise Humphreys said: “The development for Pocket V4 began in April 2021, when we partnered with The Royal National Institute of Blind People to interview people living with sight loss in the UK who had not previously experienced RealSAM technology.
“Our objective was to understand people’s everyday frustrations and to turn these insights into a meaningful roadmap for product development. Our research uncovered the three consistent areas of concern for blind and partially sighted people.”
Since its UK launch in 2018 in partnership with the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) and O2, RealSAM Pocket has bundled an easy-to-use, fully voice-controlled smartphone with inbuilt entertainment and personal assistant features.
Features include easy access to more than 100,000 audiobooks, newspapers and magazines; customisable guidance for navigating walking routes; voice-controlled access to Zoom calls to support remote working; and more.
RNIB Digital Transformation Manager Paul Porter commented: “Speaking directly with blind and partially sighted people to find out their thoughts and frustrations with accessible smartphones was essential for this product development. We hope the updated features of the new phone will help to meet the needs of customers with sight loss.”
RealSAM Pocket’s new OCR feature allows users to take a picture of printed or handwritten text and have it read back to them with high accuracy. The phone’s voice controls guide the process, alerting the user to the image being in focus, while also offering the ability to customise the onscreen display to alternative brightness, contrast, and colour combinations to improve visibility for those with some vision.
Object recognition is useful in unfamiliar situations, using the onboard camera combined with voice technology to capture and explain all elements in shot.
RealSAM Pocket V4 is now available in the UK.