Smartphone for the Blind Launched; Android App Georgie Also Available

By Tim Frederick , Jul 15, 2012 02:56 PM EDT

Sight and Sound Technology is launching "Georgie" this week, a new Android powered smartphone app that is designed specifically to aid blind people in their day to day affairs.

Georgie was developed by the not-for-profit group Screenreader, led by husband and wife designers Roger and Margaret Wilson-Hinds, who also happen to be blind. The name Georgie, fittingly enough, is the name of their first guide dog.

What the Georgie program can do is receive voice commands to run a variety of different apps and smartphone functions. Blind users can make phone calls through speech, and even send text messages in the same manner, as well as have received text messages read to them.

"I was able to send my very first text just earlier this year thanks to Georgie," said Roger Wilson-Hinds. "It's exactly the type of digital experience we want to make easily available to people with little or no sight. It is also going to help solve everyday problems for blind people so they can be more confident about navigating the real world and become independent," he said.

In addition to the main functions that Georgie can provide for blind users, additional app bundles are available that will unlock new features in the areas of travel, lifestyle, and communication. These bundles will sell for £24.99 each, and provide features such as notifications of bus travel times, and the ability to make notes about locations and be notified when those locations are again come across.

Georgie will initially be bundled with Samsung's XCover and Motorola's Defy, and will retail for £299. For users who already have an Android powered smartphone, they can download the Georgie app separately at Google Play for £149.

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