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Aussie Mobile for Blind People Launched

7 October 2014 at 10:12 am
Xavier Smerdon
Three friends from Melbourne have created what they claim is the first Australian designed mobile phone for vision impaired, blind, the elderly and disabled people.

Xavier Smerdon | 7 October 2014 at 10:12 am


Aussie Mobile for Blind People Launched
7 October 2014 at 10:12 am

Three friends from Melbourne have created what they claim is the first Australian designed mobile phone for vision impaired, blind, the elderly and disabled people.

The directors of KISA, which stands for keep it simple always, Dmitry Levin, Dennis Volodomanov and Leon Kosher started developing their unique mobile phone two years ago after struggling to find one on the market that their grandparents could use.

They got in touch with Vision Australia who had a major input in the design of the device, which they describe as the simplest mobile phone ever.

It has no screen and can store up to 10 contacts that can be called by pressing just one button.

It can also receive phone calls and has an emergency button on the back which triggers an alarm sound and instantly calls the police.

The light-weight phone can also be worn around its owner’s neck and has a seven day battery life, but in tests it has achieved almost three weeks working off just one charge.

“Even the simplest mobile phones on the market assume something about the user; they assume that they already know how to or are capable of using digital menus, touch screen interfaces, audio commands, or even at the most basic level, they assume the user can read. We set out to make a mobile phone that assumes close to nothing,” Levin said.

“The only thing this phone assumes is that you can press a button and that you can hear.

“This is truly unique.”

A high contrast in colours and a braille option mean the phone is extremely usable for vision impaired and blind people, however since being launched two months ago it has also been well received by the disabled and elderly communities.

The design of the phones can be customised and are usually shipped to the customer within a week.

Levin said every aspect of the phone had been considered, including the way customers are billed. During the development stage it was discovered that the most user friendly and stress free method for customers to be billed was via direct debit.

The customised phone costs $84 and plans range from $15 per month through to $45 per month. The highest value plan for people who are likely to use the phone on an irregular basis costs $60 for six months.

“This is the first phone like this designed in Australia for Australians,” Levin said.

“We want elderly and disabled people to embrace this technology as well.

“We have worked with so many Not for Profits  in designing this phone and it just makes sense to them.

“We are not doing this because it it is commercially viable. The key thing is that it is not for everyone.

“This is for those people that are afraid of using technology or cannot use current technology.”

“There is nothing simple about this phone, it is just simple to use,” Kosher added.

In July Pro Bono Australia revealed that UK company OwnFone was launching what it called the world’s first commercially available braille mobile phone in Australia.

They said there were currently 35,000 people in Australia who are blind and that touch screen technology was problematic for them.

More information on the KISA phone can be found here.

Xavier Smerdon  |  Journalist  |  @XavierSmerdon

Xavier Smerdon is a journalist specialising in the Not for Profit sector. He writes breaking and investigative news articles.

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