SIMULATION OF MULTIMEDIA MOBILE PHONE FOR THE BLIND AND VISUAL IMPAIRED PEOPLE

Diploma

ABSTRACT

This paper presents the development of a new mobile phone dialer application which is designed to help blind and visually impaired people make phone calls. The new mobile phone dialer application is developed as a windows phone application to facilitate entering information to touch screen mobile phones by blind people. This application is advantageous through its innovative concept, its simplicity and its availability at an affordable cost. Feedback from users showed that this new application is easy to use and solves many problems of voice and speech synthesis applications such as inaccuracy, slowness and interpretation of unusual voices. In addition, this application has increased the users’ ability to dial phone numbers more independently and less stressfully with help of multilingual (Hausa and English) system. This system is developed using Microsoft visual basic .net language for interface and voice integration The main objectives for developing the application is to ease the mobile phone operation for blind and impaired people.


INTRODUCTION

Since February 2001 when Nigeria Communication Commission (NCC) awarded digital mobile licenses to four (4) companies (Baez, Kenchiche, and Boguszewkw, 2010) and the mobile telecommunication technology popularly referred to as Global System for Mobile Communication (GSM) operation started in Nigeria, a good number of Nigerians have been enjoying the services being provided by the service providers in the country. Mobile phone were initially costly commodities that only the “Riches” can afford one; also, the charges on voice calls which were then on “per-minute” basis was on the higher side. A phone costs thousands of naira likewise the Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) cards. Charges on calls were made on per minute basis, even if a mobile phone user spends a second of time on a phone call made to another phone he/she was charged for a minute call.

Advancement in technology and competition on both sides of the phone dealer and the number of licensed operators, made the costs to drastically reduce to the extent that a common Nigerian living in an hamlet can afford to buy phone and also (to some extent) pay for the services provided by the GSM service providers. The charges on calls and that of Short Messaging Services (SMS) have drastically reduced to a barest minimum.

In spite of this impressive overall growth, Nigeria still faces the challenge of low per capital income, according to Economist Intelligence Unit figures based on CBN data, Nigeria’s real  GDP per capital in 2009 exceeded $2,200, placing it behind its Northern African neighbors, such as Tunisia, Algeria and Egypt (Baez, Kenchiche, and Boguszewkw, 2010). But, despite cries for customized to speak in two popular Nigeria’s popular languages of Hausa and Pigeon English. The mobile phone shall be designed with little as possible numbers of buttons that allow even illiterate blind Nigerians who can understand Hausa or Pigeon- English Languages to at least make calls and also identify those that calls their numbers through spoken words in these two languages.


STATEMENT OF PROBLEMS

Information service delivery to the blind and visually impaired is an indispensable factor in interaction, growth development and progress in the life of living creatures, especially human beings. (Lucky & N.E.E. Achebe, 2013). About eighty percent (80%) of the world visually impaired people live in the third world such as Nigeria. Most illiterate have no access to information. (Achebe, 2013), the manner at which many blind Nigerians (who mostly are poor) are left almost completely out of our edge technology of telecommunication is a major threat to their independence; below are some of the problems.

·         There are huge communication gap between the normal Nigerians and blind and visually impaired Nigerians.

·        Blind and visually impaired Nigerians lack more access to telecommunication facilities.

·        Individuals with disabilities (blind and visually impaired) in Nigeria, lives in Stone Age (Uncivilized)

·         Difficulties in distance communications; since Digital communication devices like mobile phones are not designed for blind and visually impaired.

AIM AND OBJECTIVES

The proposed study aimed at creating a simulation program that shall attempt to determine how mobile phones programmed purposely to be used by illiterate blind and visually impaired Nigerians who understands Hausa or Pigeon-English Language can be effective.

Specifically, the proposed system has the following objectives;-

·        The proposed phone shall be simulated to allow its users to make calls, received calls from an identified caller, and also listens to a received SMS message read out to his/her hearing.

·        It’s also targeted at breaching the barrier of poverty and disability that prevented the group of blind and visually impaired Nigerians especially those that cannot afford or (for the reason of illiteracy) cannot operate those (specially Designed phones for the blind) that are available in the market today.

·        To pave a way for the blind and visually impaired Nigerians who understand these languages (Hausa and Pigeon-English) to have access and make use of mobile phones.