Stevie Wonder speaks out about touchscreens
Stevie Wonder has spoken out about blind people's access to the latest gadgets which use touchscreens. Appearing at the CES conference in Las Vegas he said:
"We don't want to hold up technological progress. What we're saying is, think about the interface and set it up in such a way that it's simple.
Which sounds very sensible. The superstar is already said to be using a Blackberry and a talking iPod Nano. But, as I've talked about previously on this blog, touchscreens pose a particular challenge as they don't offer the tactile feel of devices with buttons.
The good news for Stevie and others is that there is lots of interesting work happening on this front. In a fascinating piece, published last week in the New York Times, blind Google engineer TV Raman described a system he has developed for the G1 smartphone which puts a dial pad on the screen wherever he touches it. Whilst Nokia are working on a so-called 'Haptic' touchscreen, which combines a touch controls with 0.1mm of screen travel to create what is described as a "real-keyboard touchscreen experience". So it seems gadget makers are beginning to respond to Stevie's plea but there's still a long way to go. Read more about Stevie Wonder's appearance in The Register.