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GPS software supports visually impaired

07 October, 2008 by Peter Verhoeven

Code Factory has announced Windows Mobile GPS software intended for visually impaired users. Mobile Geo supports blind or low-vision users by using a combination of voice synthesis and vibratory alerts, and runs on Windows Mobile 5.x, 6.x, or 6.1 devices, the company says.

According to Code Factory, its Mobile Geo software is not designed to replace a cane or a dog guide. However, says the company, the application allows blind or partially sighted users to vary their routes, and to find out about local POIs (points of interest). "The blind traveler can now be a co-pilot, not just a passive passenger in a car. He or she can keep a taxi driver honest, enjoy hearing about the sites and businesses being passed, and know independently when to get off the bus," the company says.

Mobile Geo is apparently a collaboration between Code Factory, based in Barcelona, Spain, and GPS software developer Sendero Group, based in Davis, Calif. The application uses Code Factory's Mobile Speak screen reading software to provide voice prompts, and is also compatible with any braille input/output hardware that may be interfaced to a device, according to the companies.

In addition, on Windows Mobile 6.1 Standard phones, Mobile Geo is said to use a device's capability to vibrate, in combination with Morse code, to spell out letters that stand for various events. Such events can include arrival at a destination or upcoming waypoint intersections, explains Code Factory.

According to Code Factory and Sendero, Mobile Geo operates on Windows Mobile 5.x, 6.x, and 6.1 devices with built-in GPS receivers. But, notes Sendero, the software also operates with external GPS receivers such as the Holux M1000, interfaced to Windows Mobile devices via Bluetooth. External receivers can minimize battery drain, and may provide better accuracy, the company says.

Features touted for Mobile Geo by Code Factory and Sendero include:

Mike May, CEO of Sendero says, "I have found a powerful synergy between our two nimble companies to create innovative products. We know that blind people deserve many options to suit a variety of needs and budgets. Mobile Geo is something I could only dream of when we began working on accessible GPS in the mid 90ís, and here it is!"

Further information

Unfortunately software for the visually impaired often commands a premium price, due to the limited market and need for small developers to make a living, and Mobile Geo is no exception. The software costs $1,125 bundled with Mobile Speak, or $845 for those who already have a screen reader, according to Sendero.

For further information, see the Code Factory Mobile Geo product page.

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