As I wrote in a previous post, most multi-touch smart phones — like Apple’s iPhone — aren’t suitable for blind and visually-impaired persons. There’s good news, however, in the form of a prototype case from Portugal-based industrial designer Bruno Fosi. The Silicon Touch lays on top of the iPhoneâ€™s screen and works in tandem with an accompanying iPhone application, helping the user feel the icons and what it is they are typing. There are also many nice features like text to speech and moon type tactile feedback, which the iPhone lacked for the visually impaired until now. In my opinion, what makes Silicon Touch so promising is how Mr. Fosi has re-thought how a person physcially interacts with a smart phone: Surprise! It doesn’t have to be just a visual user interface. One comment from a Yanko Design reader: “The idea can be applied to any usage scenario requiring [or] benefiting from tactile signage over the touch sensor … This might just be the killer mobile platform for the visually impaired.” Apple should call the designer right away and put the Silicon Touch into production. It will open up its smart phone to a wider audience, and show that it’s serious about accessibility.
iPhone’s Future Could be “Touchy”
December 3 2008 | by Suzanne Robitaille