Jan. 6 - A Polish company has developed the world's first fully voice-operated smart phone. The 'See You' phone allows the blind and visually-impaired easy access to the mobile functions of standard smart phones.Tara Cleary reports.
STORY: Polish singer Ewa Lewandowska is blind. So up until now, using a Smartphone was impossible. That's until she discovered the "See You" phone -- the first fully voice-operated smart phone for the blind and visually impaired. Created by software developer Marcin Lapa, it works on an adapted version of the Android system and allows users to text, e-mail and surf the Web. SOUNDBITE: EWA LEWANDOWSKA, BLIND SINGER, SAYING (English): "Now I can use Facebook, I can call my mum, I can text her, I can do a lot of things like cooking and at the same time I can send a message or check my mail. Yeah, that was my first impression and I was shocked and very happy." Lapa says his aim is to create a platform where the user communicates naturally with their phone in a conversation-like dialogue - replacing touch technology with voice recognition. SOUNDBITE: MARCIN LAPA, INVENTOR OF PHONE FOR PEOPLE WITH IMPAIRED VISION, SAYING (Polish): "We are also thinking about functions which allow the recognition of objects, shapes and colours. An important function would also be bar code recognition. And what is also essential and what we are working on, even though we have basic functions implemented, is pedestrian navigation." In Poland, the device is sold as part of a network called "See You Mobile", which has a team of visually impaired or blind experts to give subscribers support. There are currently around two million Poles living with serious visual limitations and a further 37 million throughout the world. And now Lapa is sharing his vision in the hope that his "See You" technology will expand the mobile world for the visually impaired.