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Smart screen protector helps the visually impaired use mobile phones

(People's Daily Online)    10:11, November 14, 2018

Findings released by a Chinese research lab have shown that using a unique AI “button” could make it easier for visually impaired people to use mobile phones, Science and Technology Daily reported on Monday.

Smart Touch, the new tactile feedback technology, together with the AI button, have connected voice and touch for the first time, according to Zhao Chen, a researcher from the Tsinghua University-Alibaba Joint Research Laboratory for Natural Interaction Experience.

To make Smart Touch work for the visually impaired, one needs to use a “smart” screen protector which has a specially designed button that enables the interaction between human and mobile phone, Zhao explained.

According to Zhao, after downloading the Smart Touch App and adding the “special button” to a specific area of the screen, the user is free to use all the functions provided by Smart Touch.

The button's function changes according to the situation on the screen page, thus improving the interaction efficiency and user experience, Zhao noted.

The cost of the specially designed button is pretty low, said Zhao, explaining that the button is made of silica gel, because only in this way can they make it possible for visually impaired people to use the technology.

Zhao disclosed that they are going to enrich the physical functions of the button so that it gives clearer feedback and meet the needs of more apps. He added that they hope to provide the special screen protector for free in the future.

Currently, visually impaired people usually use mobile phones with the help of screen readers, a type of software that converts text into synthesized speech. However, screen readers have many problems, such as a lack of visual feedback, which means users are bombarded with a large amount of unnecessary information before getting what they want, said Yu Chun, a professor at Tsinghua University.  

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Hongyu, Bianji)

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