Ocean Blue Software and STMicroelectronics are demonstrating assistive technology during the CES event in Las Vegas, designed to help the blind better navigate digital TV interfaces. The software developer and chip manufacturer have incorporated an advanced user interface and text to speech solution for the US, European and Asian markets.
The new generation of set-top boxes will be able to talk to their blind or partially-sighted owners – advising, via speech technology, the TV programming schedule, for example. The speed and verbosity of the voice can be adjusted for the individual user’s needs. Phase Two includes the introduction of voice activation technology to allow owners to issue simple commands to the set, such as “channel up”, “volume down”, etc.
“The digital switchover has multiplied the number of channels to 40 plus, for UK consumers, making navigation very difficult for the visually impaired,” said Ken Helps, CEO of Ocean Blue Software. “This technology is a step forward to making digital TV accessible to all sectors of the community and it is gradually gaining momentum throughout the world.”
Last October, BSkyB introduced the Sky Talker, a device that integrates with the standard Sky +receiver, vocalising the search and scan banner, programme synopsis information and Sky+ functionality such as play, pause and rewind.