SA varsity develops tech to detect hearing disability

The University of Pretoria has developed low-cost technology that helps in diagnosing hearing disability.

The technology, called hearScreen, is a patented smartphone application that provides a mobile health solution for early detection of hearing loss and links patients to required health services. The software can turn any smartphone into an audiometer to test people’s hearing. Continue reading SA varsity develops tech to detect hearing disability

What about AG Mobile devices?

It is hard to imagine that just ten years ago, we were struggling to find an accessible phone for the blind. yes, there were the Nokias running on Symbian but, that was basically what you had to deal with.

Today, thanks to innovation from Google, Microsoft and Apple, we have a choice between Android, Windows mobile and iOS. We also have a number of manufacturers giving us options in the hardware space. Huawei, Samsung, LG, Xiaomi, HTC, Nokia, etc.

However, as you know, we do not always know if the software works so nicely with the hardware as many network operators and manufacturers modifies the operating system features.

In this light, I have been asked how accessible this phone or that phone might be for a person here in South Africa who might be considering a new contract with one of the operators or who might be due for an upgrade on an existing one.

It is difficult to recommend phones if I have not worked with them myself. On paper, things might look (okay) but, many times, in reality, nothing could be further from the truth.

AG Mobile is a new local mobile phone manufacturer on the SA landscape and I have been asked specifically about the accessibility of these devices for blind and visually impaired persons.

It would appear that this phone is primarily available from Cell C but, I might be wrong.

At this point, I cannot recommend any of the AG Mobile devices to any person who is blind or visually impaired, as I have not been able to test any of these devices thus far.

There are a number of really good phones and if you don’t have the funds to waste, don’t spend it on something that is not going to work for you.

I was very sad when I learned of a fellow blind person who was promised by a salesperson that this AG Mobile device would be perfect for her and that it is exactly the same as Samsung, if not better.

It is not exactly the same as Samsung, or Huawei, or HTC, or whatever other phone’s name you want to mention. It is exactly as the AG Mobile device it is supposed to be.

Be careful, guys and girls. Do not just sign up and believe the sales blabber that you hear. Their job is to sell to whoever they can. They don’t give a damn about the fact that you don’t earn a lot of money or that you are blind or visually impaired.

If you find that it works for you, please let us know. Let’s empower one another by sharing info.

UPDATE 9 May, 2016

I’ve had the chance to play with three of the devices and all I can say is: STAY FAR AWAY FROM THEM IF YOU ARE USING TALKBACK.

The phones were buggy, crashed, hanged, restarted on its own and generally didn’t perform well at all.

Cheapest mobile call rate for those on prepaid in South Africa

For those of you on Cell C; they have recently launched a price plan that charges r0.50 per minutes for calls to all SA networks, including Telkom.  These calls are billed per second.

 

This is currently the cheapest rate in South Africa.  However, these rates are not permanent.  So, make use of them whilst they’re around.

 

To change over, just dial 141 and follow the voice prompts.  You can
also use the USSD code *147# to accomplish the same.

The Accessible Phones mailing list for South African visually impaired and blind persons

If you are a South African visually impaired or blind person interested in accessible phones in a local context, feel free to join the Accessible phones mailing list.

 

To subscribe or unsubscribe via the World Wide Web, visit the list info page. or, via email, send a message with the word ‘subscribe’ in the subject or message body to: accessiblephones-request@accesstech.co.za

 

Once subscribed, you can send your submissions to: accessiblephones@accesstech.co.za

 

And should you run into any trouble, you can reach the person managing the list at accessiblephones-owner@accesstech.co.za

Seika Mini Braille Display, affordable, portable and stylish

Note to current users of the Seika Mini Braille Display:
A new firmware version has been released for the Seika Mini Braille Display.
Download the new firmware Ver1.007 from here.

NIPPON TELESOFT CO., LTD. brings you the new Seika Mini Braille display. Sporting 16 cells of high quality 8 dot Braille, in a truely light and portable package; weighing a mere 300 Grams.

I’ve had the pleasure to put this Braille display through its paces for two weeks, thanks to Neville Clarence of
NCTec,
who made the Seika Mini available to me for evaluation.

Before I get down to my opinion, here’s the specifications for the Seika Mini Braille Display:

Specifications:

  • Display Capacity: 16 refreshable 8-dots Braille cells
  • Cursor routing Key: 16 keys
  • Function Keys: 4 function keys, 2 Navigation joystick keys
  • Braille input keys: 8 keys
  • Character code: Original 8 code
  • Memory: 4GB (Embedded Micro SD card)
  • Connectivity: USB, Mini USB, Micro SD card slot
  • Internal battery: Lithium rechargeable battery
  • Charge time: 2.5 hours(the charge time will longer if use Mini at the same time)
  • Power Supply: USB/AC Adapter/ Internal battery
  • Size: 6.3(W) 3.78(D) 0.9(H) inches.
  • Weight: 300g
  • Accessories:
    • Leather carry case,Neck strap,
    • AC adaptor (5V / 1A)
    • USB Cable (one head is USB male, the other head is mini USB male), it is primarily used for battery charging and screen reader data transfer)
    • Bluetooth USB Adapter
    • 4G Micro SD card which is in the Mini Seika in default
    • Documentation and Drivers on a CD
    • User Guide, in print