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Accessibility, Technology

Samsung Unveils Apps That Improve Communication for the Deaf and Blind

 October 22, 2020

By  Debbi Katz

There may be one in the pocket of every person you know but smart phones still prove to be modern miracles with each life-altering app that gets invented and introduced to the public. Samsung is the latest tech giant to prove this, by unveiling Good Vibes and Relumino. These apps provide communication tools to the deaf-blind and people with low vision. Good Vibes helps the deaf and blind to communicate with their caregivers. Relumino allows users to see images clearer.

Good Vibes uses Morse code to convert vibrations into text or voice and vice versa. The system of dots and dashes is used by deaf-blind people to send their messages, while caregivers receive a text or voice message. Meanwhile, deaf-blind people receive text or voice messages as vibrations. At first, the app only allowed communication between two deaf-blind individuals. After a development period of two years, those same individuals were able to communicate with their caregivers, regardless of their location.

Thanks to a partnership between Samsung India and Sense India, educators and deaf-blind individuals along with their caregivers have been participating in training workshops in Delhi and Bengaluru. This training has improved basic functionality, including notifications, text sizing and the duration and interval of vibrations. Sense India will be distributing Samsung’s Galaxy A20 smartphones to deaf-blind people and their caregivers, with Good Vibes already installed. The app can also be accessed anywhere in the country via Samsung Galaxy Store and eventually, on Google Play Store.

While Good Vibes has been primarily developed in India, Relumino was developed globally, as part of Samsung’s C-Lab program. It magnifies and minimizes images, highlights image outlines, adjusts color contrast and brightness and reverses color. This allows people with low vision to see images clearer.

This time, a partnership with the National Association for the Blind (NAB) in Delhi will provide classrooms with Relumino so that students with low vision can see better and improve their learning abilities. Samsung is providing Gear VR (virtual reality headsets) and Galaxy Note9 smartphones. Even a tech giant like Samsung has its work cut out for it. According to 2017 World Health Organization data, 217 million people, out of 253 million who are visually impaired, have low vision. That same data reveals that, of that same population, 14 million are blind. Based on progress shown in India, the global deaf-blind community should expect to receive a fair share of good news in the future.

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