May 2008 Edition
Mobile Geo is Code Factory’s upcoming GPS navigation software for Windows Mobile-based Smartphones, Pocket PC phones and personal digital assistants (PDAs). Powered by GPS and mapping technology from the Sendero Group , a leading provider of GPS products for the blind, Mobile Geo is the first solution specifically designed to serve as a navigation aid for people with a visual impairment which works with a wide range of mainstream mobile devices. Though it is a separately licensed product, Mobile Geo is seamlessly integrated with Code Factory’s popular screen readers – Mobile Speak for Pocket PCs and Mobile Speak for Windows Mobile Smartphones .
With Mobile Geo, you can pinpoint your location, learn about the points of interest (POIs) in your immediate vicinity, plan a route between specified points of origin and destination, and get instructions on maneuvers to make as well as information about waypoints along a route that you are following. However, Mobile Geo by no means replaces a cane or dog guide, and use of this product when traveling independently is recommended only when the blind user has received training in the skills of orientation and mobility.
What is GPS?
The Global Positioning System, (GPS), is a system providing navigation information using three components. Specially coded signals from satellites orbiting the earth are received by a GPS receiver. That receiver converts these signals to estimates of position, velocity, and time. Finally, these estimates are used to plot and display the location of the person holding the GPS receiver on an electronic map, which is accessed via a computing device, like a mobile phone or PDA.
- GPS satellites are objects which orbit the earth and transmit radio signals from space to various monitor stations around the world that compute precise orbital and clock data for each satellite. A master control station then uploads the data to the satellites which, in turn, send parts of this information to GPS receiver units. The nominal GPS Operational Constellation consists of 24 satellites that orbit the earth in 12 hours, but there are often more than 24 operational satellites as new ones are launched to replace older satellites.
- GPS receivers are devices that compute the user’s location based on the position of GPS satellites. A GPS receiver must track four satellites to determine longitude, latitude, altitude (which constitute position information), and time, though signals from at least three satellites will suffice to pinpoint locations.
- GPS maps are the electronic representation of geographical features, urban areas, roads or streets, and other details about a part of the earth’s surface (e.g., a city, a region comprising different cities and states, a whole country, parts of or an entire continent, etc.). They provide route information, waypoint coordinates and topographical data to show the position details computed by GPS receivers.
To learn more about GPS, refer to the following web pages:
Overview of Mobile Geo Features
The following is a list of what makes Mobile Geo a unique GPS product for the blind, eclipsing similar solutions currently available. Please note that most of these features will be present in the first version, while a few will be released in future updates of the product.
- Mobile Geo supports versions 5.0, 6.0, and 6.1 of the Windows Mobile operating system. This includes support for devices running Windows Mobile Professional (Pocket PC phone), Standard (Smartphone), and Classic (stand-alone PDA), editions of the operating system. This means that you can pick up a supported device from a local store or through your preferred mobile phone network operator, and upgrade to newer device models in the future whenever you wish.
- It is compatible with more than 300 personal digital assistants as well as mobile phones operating on GSM, CDMA and WCDMA networks.
- It functions as an add-on to Code Factory’s leading screen readers for Windows Mobile, which means that you get, besides the GPS solution, a fully accessible smartphone, PDA or phone+PDA hybrid device.
- It is available with map data and POI files for different countries including the USA, Canada, the UK and Ireland, Spain, France, Italy, Germany, Austria, the Netherlands, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, South Africa, Australia, and the Singapore/Malaysia/Hong Kong region.
- It functions with speech output from various text-to-speech engines developed by leading providers, such as Fonix, Loquendo, and Acapela. It is, therefore, able to speak more than 20 languages.
- It works with external Bluetooth GPS receivers as well as the built-in GPS receivers present in some mobile devices.
- It can be used with the speech output routed to a Bluetooth headset.
- Application commands can be performed using numeric or QWERTY keyboards integrated with the device, the Pocket PC touch screen, or an external keyboard.
- It can be used with more than 20 different Braille devices for input and output.
- It is activated using Code Factory’s User-Centered Licensing system , which allows you to easily transfer your product license from one mobile device to another of the same platform type and version.
What can you do with Mobile Geo?
Specific features planned for implementation in the first release are listed below. Note, however, that as Mobile Geo is still in its alpha stage, this list is subject to change.
- The first screen of the application always displays the most important information including GPS status, current location, nearest waypoints, selected maps, and active modes.
- GPS status shows the GPS signal quality, accuracy scale, and the number of satellites that the GPS receiver is currently tracking.
- You can easily find out details about your current location (address, street, city), nearest POI or street address, and map coordinates (longitude and latitude).
- When in motion, you can determine, at any time, your present heading (orientation, distance and direction) to the next waypoint.
- Information about the distance traveled from the point of origin, the distance yet to be traveled to the point of destination, and the estimated time of arrival are also available while following a route.
- You can enter an address, select a point of interest (POI) or virtual position, or set map coordinates as the origin or destination.
- By setting the point of destination, you can automatically create routes using the currently loaded map data and your current position or a specified location as the point of origin.
- You can choose to automatically create routes for pedestrians or motorists.
- There are two modes that can be used after creating a route: in one, GPS tracking is enabled and you are moving, while in the other, no GPS tracking is necessary and you can virtually scout the route to study it before traveling.
- You can navigate route information by turn, waypoint, POI, street, virtual position, etc., either virtually or when actually following the route.
- Details of a selected waypoint (e.g., number and names of cross streets at an intersection) and POI (address, phone number, user comments) can be determined.
- You can manually recalculate a route based on the initial point of origin, or by setting your current position, a nearby POI, address, or virtual position as your point of “origin”.
- You can set the application to automatically recalculate the route if you veer off course.
- You can set the application to automatically announce upcoming maneuvers (i.e., turns) and waypoints (i.e., intersections or POIs), and inform you when you are approaching any of these points in the route or have arrived at them.
- You can manually check for the next waypoint or turn in a route that you are following.
- There are two modes for the speaking of information or announcements: summarized and detailed.
- You can save routes and load them later when needed.
- You can reverse a created or loaded route so that you need not, to reverse the points of origin and destination, create an entirely new route. interchanged.
- You can save user-defined points of interest if the map data does not identify a place as a POI.
- You can enter comments / notes about a selected POI or waypoint (e.g., to indicate if there is a road hazard near that point, a slight curve, narrow steps, etc.).
- You can cancel the current route before reaching your intended destination.
- You can use a vicinity view function to look around your immediate surroundings and learn about nearby POIs, street addresses, intersections, etc.
- User POIs, virtual positions, and routes can be stored in files that you can share with others.
- The application may be set to speak orientation details using standard terms (e.g., left/right/ahead/behind) or clock-face positions (e.g., at 9 o’clock).
- Units of measurement used can be according to the metric or imperial system.
Beta Testing and Product Release
Code Factory will publish information about applying for the beta testing program for Mobile Geo in the coming weeks. Product presentations will also be given at the summer conventions in North America and at Sight Village in the United Kingdom in June/July by Sendero and Code Factory. More information about Mobile Geo and the official product launch will be made available at that time.
To keep yourself up-to-date with the latest news regarding this new and exciting Code Factory product, please subscribe to any of our Stay Tuned services or join any of our product mailing lists where announcements and press releases are also posted.
This month, Code Factory will be starting our beta program for the 2.0 version of Mobile Daisy Player, the first accessible electronic book reader for Symbian and Windows Mobile devices. The initial beta launch will be for Symbian devices, with the Windows Mobile version following soon afterward.
This version of Mobile Daisy Player offers many new and exciting features, such as variable-speed audio playback, support for a greatly expanded range of DAISY formats, and support for mainstream Windows Mobile devices, another first for Code Factory. The new version also eliminates the need for a separate PC application to prepare the book for reading, now a user can simply copy the book’s files onto a memory card and begin reading. Mobile Daisy Player also has many customizable features, such as variable navigation levels and user bookmarks and, of course, it integrates well with Mobile Speak and its wide-ranging text-to-speech capabilities.
Mobile Daisy Player will be demonstrated at Sight City in Frankfurt during the week of May 5th, and will be available to beta testers the following week. If you have already submitted your beta tester information, you’ll be notified as soon as it is available. If not, you can join the beta test team by sending your name, email address, phone model, and IMEI number to email@example.com.
Code Factory has just released a beta version of Mobile Speak for Symbian phones which provides support for the new Web browser. This browser is the default (and the only built-in) web browser on all Symbian 9.2 phones (such as the Nokia N82 and Nokia N95), and it is also found as the secondary browser on all Symbian 9.1 phones as, for example, the Nokia N75 and Nokia E65.
Support is provided by means of a virtual cursor, allowing the user to quickly and easily navigate to the information of interest on the web page. The experience is similar to what one might find when navigating the web using a PC’s screen reader. Powerful shortcut functions allow navigation by many elements, such as links, headings, forms, tables and lists, just to name a few.
The next public release of Mobile Speak for Symbian will include support for the browser on all Symbian 9 phones. If you'd like to try it out sooner, please send your name, email address, phone model, and IMEI number to firstname.lastname@example.org. We'll also be giving demonstrations of the new web browser support at Sight City in Frankfurt during the week of May 5th.
The new version of Mobile Speak and Mobile Magnifier for Pocket PCs, the world-leading screen reader for Windows Mobile Pocket PC phone and PDA devices is now available, and offers a wide range of new and innovative features.
To read the full list of more than 50 new features and enhancements available for Mobile Speak and Mobile Magnifier for Pocket PCs Version 2.0, visit: http://www.codefactory.es/descargas/family_1/product_3/Whats_new_V2.0.124_EN.html.
The newly released Mobile Speak for Pocket PCs version 2.0 may be downloaded from: http://www.codefactory.es/en/downloads.asp?id=44.
To get the full list of compatible add-ons for Mobile Speak for Pocket PCs, visit: http://www.codefactory.es/en/extras.asp?id=101.
More information about Code Factory’s other screen readers is available at: http://www.codefactory.es/en/products.asp?id=16.
Code Factory is proud to be a participant at this year’s Sight City, the biggest exhibition in Germany relating to technology for the blind and visually impaired. The conference will be held from May 7 to May 9, 2008, at the Sheraton Airport Frankfurt, Hugo-Eckener-Ring 15, Frankfurt.
Many of our friends and partners will take part in the event. Just some of them are:
- Acapela Group
- Baum Retec Ag
- HandyTech Elektronik GmbH
- Ludwig Becker GmbH
- LVI Low Vision International AB
Sight City is a great opportunity to check out the world of fully accessible mainstream mobile technology and to learn more about:
- The new web browser support on Mobile Speak for Symbian version 3.40.
- The beginning of Mobile Daisy Player version 2.0 beta program.
- Mobile Geo: Code Factory’s new GPS application developed in partnership with Sendero.
- Version 2.0 of Mobile Speak and Mobile Magnifier for Pocket PCs, which is now available with the User-Centered Licensing system. Users can now take advantage of the rapid improvements in mobile technology by moving their licenses from one device to another anywhere, anytime, and free of charge. This release also features full new Braille commands and unparalleled support for the latest Windows Mobile 6 Pocket PCs.
Caroline Ragot, our Marketing Director, attended the fifth edition of MOVE, the Mobile Vodafone Expo. It was hosted in Madrid on April 23 and 24, at the Palacio de Congresos de Campo de las Naciones. to read more about this event, visit: http://www.movevodafone.com.
This event aimed to present to both corporations and public administrations all the latest mainstream solutions for mobile phones, which are provided by the many member companies of the Vodafone Partner Program as, for example, Nokia, HP, Palm, Samsung, etc.
Code Factory was one of those partners invited to demonstrate our accessible solutions at the Vodafone booth. This year's theme for the conference was the ability of mobile technologies to improve the everyday lives of people belonging to historically disadvantaged groups, or those people having special needs, such as the disabled, immigrants, seniors, battered women, the chronically ill, etc. Attendees of the conference were able to see, firsthand, how mobile technology improves peoples' lives in a very real and meaningful way.
Code Factory would like to take this opportunity to express its appreciation of Vodafone's commitment to accessibility, as well as the Code Factory team's pleasure in working, together with Vodafone and our many other partners and friends, to move accessibility forward.
Code Factory has received a 2008 access award for our innovative and unique work with mobile phone technology. To read the speech delivered by Eduard Sanchez, Code Factory’s CEO, go to http://www.codefactory.es/en/about.asp?id=58.
For a long time now, Baum’s VarioConnect Braille displays have worked easily and quickly with Code Factory’s Mobile Speak, Mobile Speak Pocket and Mobile Speak Smartphone.
BAUM is a German based company specializing in products and services for blind and visually impaired people. The VarioConnect Braille display has been specifically designed by BAUM as a “Bluetooth” Braille reading and writing device to working in combination with mainstream devices like mobile phones, PDA’s and smartphones loaded with Mobile Speak.
The research and development departments of Code Factory and BAUM have been working closely together for quite some time. The result is the unique combination of Mobile Speak and VarioConnect working together with great stability and utility.
The VarioConnect-12 is the smallest 12-cell Braille display with a Braille input keyboard in the world. Despite it’s six-dot Braille keyboard, 8-dot Braille can also be used using special key combinations that are supported by Mobile Speak. BAUM also includes a special space button to enable you to input whilst on the move. VarioConnect includes 12 cursor routing buttons for your comfort.
Switch on your mobile device with Mobile Speak and you have Braille support immediately with the VarioConnect. The drivers for the BAUM VarioConnect are already included within the Mobile Speak products. Using Mobile Speak and VarioConnect 12 together gives you full privacy when reading Braille with your connected device. Typing SMS text messages on VarioConnect’s keyboard is easy and much faster than typing on the telephone’s numeric keypad. Using VarioConnect’s joystick in conjunction with its 4 Soft keys (as on most mobile devices) permits you to operate your mobile device with Mobile Speak without having to hold the telephone. The stylish and robust aluminium case of the VarioConnect 12 is small and can be slipped into any shirt pocket.
Other models of VarioConnect:
Larger models of the VarioConnect allow easier and more comfortable Braille input. Larger versions include 24, 32 and 40 Braille cells. These 3 models have an 8-dot Braille input keyboard and, besides Bluetooth, also have a USB-port. This enables you to use them as portable Braille displays with your laptop when using most screen readers.
People who are Deaf and Blind:
VarioConnect and Mobile Speak can be used as a communicator for people who are deaf-blind. Using SMS-messages, deaf-blind people can now communicate with other (sighted or deaf-blind) people using mainstream devices and without the assistance of an interpreter.
For more information please visit the BAUM website: http://www.baum.de/en/products/brailledisplay/vconnect12.php
You may also ask for a demonstration with BAUM or a local BAUM-Distributor. Your local distributor can be found at:
If you are visiting the SightCity 2008 exhibition in Frankfurt, you are very welcome to visit our booth B 2.
The Mobile Reader Product Line from knfbReading Technologies is a major advancement in portability and functionality of print access for the blind, the vision impaired and those with reading difficulties. It allows the user to read mail, receipts, handouts and many other documents wherever the user happens to be. In addition, with the use of a screen reader, the user can access the other functions of the phone device including making and receiving phone calls, personal information management such as contacts, calendar, etc. Phones that run the Mobile Reader are also able to run accessible GPS programs, access Adobe PDF files, record voice notes and make other voice recordings, play music, and much more.
- Operating system - Symbian S60, 3rd Ed, FP1
- Supported phone models - Nokia N82
- Supported languages - US English or UK English
- On phone free flash storage - 50 Mb required
- Flash card storage - up to 500 images per GB
- Memory - 40 Mb free RAM required
- Camera - 5 megapixel, autofocus with xenon flash required
These groundbreaking KnfbReading Technologies Inc. products will be translated and master-distributed throughout the European Union, Norway and Switzerland by the Belgian company Sensotec N.V. (with the exception of the UK and Ireland). Currently only the English version is available but knfbReading Technology Inc. and Sensotec are happy to announce the release of the Spanish, French, German, Dutch, Flemish, and Italian version by the end of May. For more information about the localised versions of the knfbReading Technology products and to locate your local distributor in the European Union, please visit http://www.knfbreader.eu/knfbReader/
For more information about KNFB reading technology visit: http://www.knfbreader.com/index.php.
Dictionary of Mobile Speak Smartphone. Switch to the Settings layout using Home + 5, and then press Home + 4 to open the user dictionary for the currently active voice. Note that different TTS engines may have different pronunciations for the same word.
In the user dictionary, you have an edit field for entering the "actual word" and a "read as" field for the pronunciation text string. Note that you can only enter single words, and that numbers and punctuation is ignored. To change the placement of stress on syllables, use uppercase letters in the pronunciation string to start a new syllable. For example, to correct the way the word "knowledgebase" is pronounced, enter knowledgebase as the actual word, and knowledgeBase in the "Read as" edit field. You can also change the way individual letters are pronounced through the user dictionary. If, for instance, you have difficulty hearing the letter 'e' spoken at higher speech rate levels, you can write a single e as the actual word and two e's or even four e's as the pronunciation string. When the letter e can hardly be heard, you can make Mobile Speak pronounce e as ee or eeee to make the sound longer even when spoken fast.
When you are ready to add the pronunciation entry, press the Left Softkey and select "Add". The new entry will be added to the list presented in the main screen of the user dictionary.
To exit the user dictionary and save your entries, select "OK" in the Options menu. To exit the user dictionary without saving your changes, press the Right Softkey.
Maybe you think your mobile phone or PDA is simply something you use to communicate, and perhaps to take notes. Today’s mobile devices, though, are able to do much more than that. If you’re using a Code Factory screen access program, your mobile device is the perfect tool for reading books, in both audio and digital text format, on the move. In this two part series, we’ve highlighted the many functions of your mobile device and Code Factory’s screen access products which make books easy to bring with you and absolutely fun to read. In part 1, which was in our last newsletter available at: http://www.codefactory.es/en/newsletters.asp?id=61&y=2008&n=8#section34 we concentrated on the many methods of reading audio books on your mobile phone. In this second part of our series, we’d like to discuss about electronic text books which is just as exciting for avid readers.
Electronic books are, by their very nature, perfect for reading with a screen reader. Electronic text books, or Etext as we’ll call their format, are books the content of which is in a format which can be spoken by your accessible phone. Etext books come in many different file formats and can be read with many different programs. Most file formats can be identified by their extensions, the three letters usually after a period which come at the end of the file name. Throughout this article, we will use the three letter file extension in parentheses after each file type so that each file will be identifiable when you see it on the web. Most basically, all accessible phones can read files in text (.txt) and HTML (.HTM or .HTML) formats.
TXT files can be read through Pocket Word, built into Pocket PCs, Word Mobile built into Windows Mobile Smartphones running Windows Mobile 6, the internal notepad in Symbian phones, and external applications such as Vieka WordPad for Windows Mobile Smartphones http://vieka.com/wordpad.htm.
HTML books can be read in the web browser available and supported on all accessible phones. The web holds many books in HTML and text formats. One of the largest sites for books in many formats, including text and HTML, is the Online Books Page http://digital.library.upenn.edu/books/. This page, containing more than thirty thousand books, aggregates books from around the internet. It focuses on books in the public domain, that is, older books not now under copyright, as well as government and research publications. The collection is rounded out by a large helping of recently published books which are released to the public domain by their authors.
Another excellent site, specializing in older books, is Project Gutenberg
http://www.gutenberg.org/wiki/Main_Page which also offers its books in HTML and text formats. For a more specific genre, the Baen Free Library http://www.baen.com/library/defaultTitles.htm
offers its books in HTML format and specializes in science fiction and fantasy. Similarly,
http://www.sacred-texts.com specializes in sacred books from many religions. Finally, the Daily Lit will send you books in chunks either by Email or through RSS
These books can, of course, be read on your mobile device like any Email or RSS feed.
Other sites offer books specifically to the blind, visually impaired, or people with any sort of disability that makes reading difficult. The largest among these is Bookshare.org
http://www.bookshare.org which offers a wide variety of books, the vast majority of which are relatively recent in their publication and the majority of which were initially made available only to those living in the United States, though a selection of books has now become accessible internationally as well. Code Factory screen readers for the Windows Mobile operating system have, built into them, a reader for Braille files (BRF), which are Braille files, from BookShare.org. BRF files are a way of representing contracted Braille in an Etext format, and Code Factory screen readers for Windows Mobile can render these files into Braille, speech, or both. Another site, only available to citizens of the United States, is the Library of Congress’ Web Braille http://www.loc.gov/nls/reference/factsheets/webBraille.html which provides files in BRF format. These BRF files can be read by your Windows Mobile device running a Code Factory screen reader for Windows Mobile. A similar service is provided by the Canadian National Institute for the Blind to Canadian members of the Institute
Again, this service offers BRF braille files which can be rendered legible, either through a Braille display or by speaking the file’s contents, on a Windows Mobile device.
Finally, if you’re looking for books in Spanish, an excellent place to start is Tiflolibros:
Most of these books can be read on your mobile device.
If you have a Symbian mobile phone and Code Factory’s Mobile Daisy Player, or if you will be using the upcoming first version of the Mobile Daisy Player for Windows
Mobile, you can obtain text Daisy books from bookshare.org, and can read them rather than reading the same books through the use of BRF files.
As you can see, whatever your mobile device may be, and whatever Code Factory product you use to access it, a world of books is open to you. Whether it is the text and HTML of the Online Books Page, or the BRF and Daisy of Bookshare.org, more books are accessible than ever before and, due to the Code Factory access solution you use, they are accessible wherever you want them to be. Reading is not an activity that requires many Braille volumes, a desktop or laptop computer, or a personal reader. Reading can now be done privately, easily, quickly and, most importantly, whether you’re at home or on the go.
We at Code Factory have always prided ourselves on our customer service. We strongly believe that our customers should be able to use our products and services wherever, whenever, and however they wish. We have, therefore, decided to implement a new online form which enables any person to generate free trial licenses for Mobile Speak for Symbian Phones and Mobile Magnifier for Symbian Phones without having to contact a distributor or Code Factory. This page is available anytime and trials can be generated instantly. Obtaining the full opportunity to try all of Code Factory’s products will, then, be easier to access, more flexible in when and how it is used, and require no input except that of the product’s user.
To obtain your free thirty day trial for Mobile Speak or Mobile Magnifier for Symbian phones, visit: http://www.codefactory.info/partner_community/front/trial_license.asp.
Note that trials for the Code Factory products for the Windows Mobile operating system can be obtained from within the remote activation wizard, installed with each product. The introduction of the trial generation page will not make any difference to this process, but only to the one for obtaining trials for our Symbian products.
Machiel started to work with Code Factory in March 2008. He is a native of Amsterdam, but has lived in Barcelona for six years.
After obtaining his doctorate in high energy physics, he worked for various software companies and projects, both in the Netherlands and in Spain. At Code Factory, he works on the European project, ENABLE, project which will develop a personal, user-centered enabling system, with services, for use by an elderly person in or out of the home, to mitigate the effects of any disability and to increase quality of life: independence, autonomy, mobility, communications, care and safety. The system will be based on a distributed open platform, enabling other services to be added by third parties, by "plugging" into defined interfaces. The platform includes a mobile phone, enabling the user to get out and about, for visiting, shopping, recreation, etc, whilst maintaining contact for help and services.
Machiel tells us: "I joined Code Factory, because I wanted to expand my knowledge of software design and development, because I was attracted to the idea of a small company with a dedicated market and innovative technologies, and because I liked the idea of working on products that improve other people´s lives directly and quickly."
Machiel’s other passion is music. He spends much of his time listening to music and plays in a rock band himself (www.myspace.com/bcnthings). He also enjoys reading, going to the movies, and visiting friends around the world.
Listen to Mark Taylor’s podcast at http://feeds.feedburner.com/candleshore . Code Factory CEO, Eduard Sánchez and Roselle Ambubuyog, Product Manager for Windows Mobile solutions have been guests on Mark’s show. Here are the direct links to the mp3 files of the interviews Eduard and Roselle gave: