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

Undergraduate

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.

BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY

Total blindness is the inability to tell light from dark, or the total inability to see. Visual impairment or low vision is a severe reduction in vision that cannot be corrected with standard glasses or contact lenses and reduces a person's ability to function at certain or all tasks. Legal blindness (which is actually a severe visual impairment) refers to a best-corrected central vision of 20/200 or worse in the better eye or a visual acuity of better than 20/200 but with a visual field no greater than 20° e.g., side vision that is so reduced that it appears as if the person is looking through a tunnel.

Right now there are nearly 314 million people are visual impaired. The fact is there are a lot of people who suffer from visual impairment around the universe and most of these people need assistance in accessing the digital world that we are now in especially the use of communication devices like mobile phones.

Mobile phones have become great tools for providing security and enhancing the lives with better communication. Unfortunately, it is impossible for a blind person to use cell phones. Luckily there are some devices in the market that can eliminate some of the barriers. Many new applications are developed to make the technology usable for everyone, even if the user is blind or having some sort of visual impairment. Blind people will soon be able to write a text message without seeing the screen. This facility will start the new era of smart phones created for the blind. Today, there is a number of software available in the market using which blind people can operate different devices and applications.


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.