For the sight-impaired, a phone that talks back

Concept is developed to identify functions when buttons are pressed.

Tuvie

In the best circumstances, there are some social benefits from the technology industry's hypercompetitive nature. When companies try to find new markets, for example, they sometimes create products aimed specifically at consumers with physical disabilities-- occasionally with some bold innovation as well.

Nowhere is that truer than in the overcrowded mobile phone business, as we saw last week with a Nokia device that can turn a hearing aid into a Bluetooth headset . And now a London-based designer has developed a new concept phone for the visually impaired: Takumi Yoshida's SENS handset would "talk" when buttons are pressed, identifying their functions. The idea is hardly new, as it's been used for years on land-line phones, but Yoshida has tried to incorporate the function in a stylishly designed handset.

Privacy issues may arise when using the phone in public, as Newlaunches notes, though there's always the option of using a headset. Besides, it's far less cumbersome than using something like a cyclops viewer .

About the author

    Mike Yamamoto is an executive editor for CNET News.com.

     

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