April has been declared Distracted Driving Awareness Month by the National Safety Council. Though distractions such as cell phones account for a growing percentage of car crashes, a new Israeli innovation offers hope for safer roadways.
An Israeli-developed smartphone for the blind is providing technology that will now help the fully sighted to drive more safely. RayGo is the first eyes-free patented smartphone system that lets drivers interact with their smartphones without taking their eyes off the road.
If driving while connected is set to become safer, it will be due in part to the work done by the Israeli team that developed Project RAY, a smartphone that enables the blind to interact with their devices. The RAY device allows users to navigate everything by voice and touch and provides responsive voice feedback to guide users as needed. RAY device users can call out the name of a contact, for example, and the phone will automatically dial the number. The device also has a unique touch component; all actions are taken by sliding a finger on the screen up, down, left, or right to have the device read email aloud, dial numbers, or send text messages.
It’s that touch and voice technology that RAY team members have adapted for RayGo, said device co-creator Boaz Zilberman, as they realized that they had something that could be useful not just for the blind but for others who should be keeping their eyes off their device’s screens while driving.