A NEW voice-activated smart phone is set to transform the lives of blind people.
The RealSAM In Your Pocket phone, developed with help from the Royal National Institute of Blind People, is the UK’s first fully voice-activated smart phone, media player and personal assistant for people with sight loss.
Users can ask ‘SAM’ for help in everyday life. This includes turning on its inbuilt video magnifier when reading labels while shopping, or its custom-built navigation software that allows users to bookmark landmarks when travelling alone and be guided back with direction and distance.
SAM also connects directly to Be My Eyes, an online community of over two million volunteers who help people with sight loss through a live video call.
Roger Wilson-Hinds has both sight and hearing loss and volunteered as part of the development team for RealSAM In Your Pocket. He said: “The phone was an essential companion to me during the recent lockdown. My wife and I were able to enjoy daily walks, continue to shop for ourselves and stay connected to our grandchildren, without relying on the help of carers.”
Roger believes the possibilities are endless for how artificial intelligence will transform the lives of people with disabilities: “What I love about the advances we’re seeing with artificial intelligence is that everything is focused on making the user experience simpler. And for people with a disability who want to live independently, this simplicity really is the most important thing.”
RealSAM In Your Pocket is the result of a two-year collaboration between the RNIB, O2 and Australian Artificial Intelligence developers, RealThing AI, that identified the need for a portable device, specifically for the visually impaired, that combines technologies to aid safety and independence.
Prices start at £25.99 a month as part of a two-year contract, offering unlimited access to RealSAM In Your Pocket’s entertainment library, UK calls and texts and a choice of data plan with O2. All customers are offered 121 telephone support with setting up their handset and have access to a UK based helpline staffed by both a sighted and visually impaired team.
From September, RealSAM In Your Pocket will also be available on the Samsung Galaxy xCover4s handset. New features include an IP68 rating making it waterproof, with an extended battery life and faster processor.
Tel, 0333 772 7708
- The RNIB expects that over four million people will be living with sight loss in the UK by the year 2050, with those affected more likely to experience reduced wellbeing and independence compared to the rest of the population.