Phones for the Blind or Visually Impaired – How They Work


Today, the use of cell phones has become a really necessary good at the time of communication, because at make calls or messages from this, it is possible to communicate much faster with our loved ones or acquaintances.

But what about blind people? These blind or visually impaired people, for years have found themselves very limited to the use of these devices, since it is almost completely impossible to maneuver them.

As a good news, here in look how it is done we want to inform you that currently There is a cell phone for blind people, so that in this way they can also be in communication at all times, just like all of us.

How cell phones work for the blind

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These devices are enabled with functions that allow interaction between the visually impaired person and the phone itself. Well, not all phone models designed for the blind work the same. This is because its manufacturers approach the needs in a different way, but nevertheless, the same objective is always achieved, a phone whose need to see is exonerated.

talkback screen reader

Some manufacturers, limit these devices to their basic functions. That is, call and send messages. These phones usually have a screen where the letters, numbers and symbols are quite large; in addition to having a screen color that makes it easier to read.

Similarly, these phones have the braille reading system integrated into each of its keys. In this way, a visually impaired person can perform functions such as writing messages, dialing numbers, answering calls, among others.

Other quite important functionality it’s about screen reading. Well, these devices can also read your text messages, contact names, tell the time, even tell who is calling you.

Lastly, some blind apra phone models they have a special button to call emergency services. This is quite useful when any type of critical situation arises.

Mobile functions for the blind

With the passing of time the phones have been updated when Apple was launched in 2009 a screen reader called VoiceOver is integrated into their phones, Google quickly did the same with TalkBack on Android.

These functions are designed for the visually impaired. or even for blind people allowing them to have access to telephones in a simple way and thus themselves to be able to carry out their activities, be it sending text messages, making calls, managing their bank accounts, making purchases and among other things.

Samsung cell phones for the blind or blind

Currently most Samsung phones will allows to be used by the blind or visually impaired This with the TalkBack function, but Samsung has released a phone that is specially developed for people with this disability. This phone is the Samsung Galaxy Core Advance which has functions focused on people with eyestrain or even blindness.

This Samsung includes an increased number of keys and a coated back cover It facilitates its use and also has various functions that indicate to the user by means of voice what functions are being used, in such a way it also includes an optical scanner which automatically recognizes a text from a photograph and reads it to the user in voice high either a book, a utility bill or a letter among other things.

How Blind People Can Handle Mobile Phones

Blind people can manage their mobile either Android or iPhone in the following way:

In the case of Android must activate the TalkBack function which is designed for them, this function offers you comments and voice notifications.

To activate TalkBack on Android It can be done in several ways:

The first way is by pressing both volume keys to both activate and deactivate

  1. Find the volume keys found on the sides of the phone.
  2. Hold them down for 3 seconds.
  3. You must confirm that you want to activate or deactivate by pressing the volume keys again for 3 seconds.

One suggestion is that TalkBack by default read the password characters, you can change so that the device does not read aloud the safe field characters unless you have the headphones on.

be my eyes app for blind people

The second way to activate TalkBack is using google assistant for this you just have to say with a clear voice

  1. Hey google
  2. Say turn on TalkBack or turn off TalkBack

And finally, the recommended way to activate TalkBack is with device settings. If you have low vision or are just helping a blind person you can navigate through the settings to enable or disable TalkBack.

  1. On the device go to settings.
  2. you must must to select accessibility, where it says TalkBack.
  3. enable or disable the option to use it.
  4. finally press accept.

In the case that you have an iPhone cell phone we have the VoiceOver function which It is a screen reader thatBecause it’s gesture-based, this allows you to use your iPhone even when you don’t see the screen.

VoiceOver gives you the audible descriptions of what is on the touch screen, be the battery level who calls you and even which application is active on the screen.

When you press the screen or drag your finger over it, the VoiceOver function tells you the name of what you are touching, both icons and text. Voiceover It also tells you when the screen brightness lights up or when it is locked and it tells you when your phone’s screen is horizontal or vertical.

To turn VoiceOver on or off there are several methods among them we have

  1. Activate Siri and say in a clear and understandable voice «turn on VoiceOver» or «turn off VoiceOver.»
  2. Second method is pressing the side button three times (on the iPhone with Face ID).
  3. Pressing the start button three times.
  4. Use the control center by going to settings where it says VoiceOver accessibility and activate or deactivate this function.

It should be noted that apart from these functions TalkBack for Android or VoiceOver for iPhone there are also applications that allow blind people carry out your activities on a mobile device These applications will be mentioned later.

Are there cell phones intended for use by blind people?

Today there are different companies that have been given the task of bringing these devices to light, which are adapted to the needs of people with visual disability, but they are not specifically intended for the blind.

However, it is known that the development of a phone requires a large investment for businesses. That is why the phones that are manufactured, focus on a larger audience. This leaves the visually impaired with very few options.

The solution to this are the applications that little by little have been integrated into the market. Are promote the use of cell phones in blind people. For this, they offer tools that facilitate the reading of the device, the reading of the environment, the introduction of instructions and the use of the other applications.

In this way, blind people can use these phones even though they were not created especially for them. Facilitating access to technology for these people.

On the other hand, among the brands of companies that have risked taking out cell phones of these characteristics, we have Blind shell as an example.

What is Blind Shell?

These cell phones were designed following guidelines dictated by organizations of the blind and handicapped visuals «SONS», to cover as much as possible the needs of these people.

blind shell mobile devices

These mobile devices come bundled with special buttons for these people, in addition to a voice recognition system, which will allow them to dial phone numbers, send messages and even write emails.

One of its most outstanding features is the SOS button that is integrated, because from it it will be possible to call a friend on emergency case, since this number will be registered, exclusively for those cases.

Basic functions of Blind Shell

This cell phone has light characteristics, so you can make calls, send messages, know what day it is by the calendar integrated. It also has a radio that works through the use of the internet and audio players, as well as personalized ringtones to identify each user.

Other basic functions for which it stands out is speed dialing, which is a kind of shortcut or direct access to a contact and the use of being able to program several alarms that indicate a specific event.

In its advanced functions highlight the use of voice commands to be able to make use of text messages and e-mail, reading of labels of objects ideal when going to the supermarket, emergency button and color indicator.

It also has functions for weather forecasting by which you can know how the weather is before leaving your home and the company is committed to making constant updates to improve the functions and also the lives of these people.

How to buy from Blind Shell?

It’s very simple, you just have to go to your preferred browser and type in the search bar «blind shell«. Then enter the first option that comes out and once inside go to the section»e -shop«which is located in the upper right part of the orange screen.

Once you press on the button will direct you to the store, where you must select the device you want, the language and the color of your preference. All you have to do is enter the payment method and that’s it.

Are there other alternatives for blind people?

Yes, of course, there are a wide variety of applications that can be downloaded to mobile devices, whether they are system Android or iOS operating. These apps are intended to make the day-to-day life of these people easier and more bearable.

blind android logo

Among them they have applications to locate us in our GPS, to be able to read our screen and messages, to applications destined to make video calls at the moment while you walk so that other sighted users can guide you without any problem.

Of course, the applications are infinite and with different specific reasons, which is why you just have to search your store for applications of this type. It is expected that for the next few years there will be devices designed exclusively to be people that make their use really comfortable.

Applications for the blind or visually impaired

There are various applications for blind or visually impaired people for both Android or iPhone, in the case of Android we have:

BrailleBack: It is an application of the Android service that benefits people with visual disabilities which make use of a Braille device (shine lines, brailler printers, brailler keyboards).

It works in conjunction with the TalkBack application. This application allows you to link to a Braille display Upgradable compatible to the device via bluetooth.

voiceover app for blind people

Voice Access: Use voice recognition on the device, capable of making life more comfortable for millions of people. This Google service considered for those with diseases that prevent manipulation of a touch screen or who have permanent or temporary physical limitations can manage their mobile devices just by using their voice.

It is a great and true browsing experience, since has many actions such as browsing applications, writing and editing texts, interacting with the search engine assistant, etc.

Be my eyes: It is created to help people with visual disabilities. The power of technology and human connection unite to bring sight to people with vision loss through video chat. It’s free, it’s easy to use and it’s in Spanish. Be my eyes translated into Spanish «Be my Eyes» was born, thanks to the Danish philosopher and craftsman Hans Jorgen Wiberg who suffers from vision problems and is aware of the difficulties that such people may have on a day-to-day basis.

This application links you to a global network of volunteers visually impaired who are willing and ready for help at any time.

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