A Virtual Assistant App for low vision or blind people
Helena is an accessible interactive web platform for blind and visually despaired people that can be accessed from personal computers; tablet surface,and other mobile devices with touch screens.
In developing countries blind and visually despaired people are excluded from many aspects of life and have low possibilities to incorporate themselves into workforce. They have difficulties in accessing information of educational, cultural and entertaining value due to the high cost of the existing technological solutions, unintuitive interface, and distortions because news and other content have been developed for people with normal vision. Also, blind and visually despaired people are limited in creating and posting information due to the unavailability of easy to use Braille input technological methods.
Helena offers access to cultural, educational and entertaining content, such as local and international news, articles, books and games, adapted for people with visual incapacity. Users will be able to interact with information by posting comments, suggestions, and enhance their creativity by publishing proprietary contents (news, short stories, novels). In Personal Computers Helena enables input of data by using traditional keyboard, for users that are familiar with it, or Braille input by using six central letters. For mobile devices Helena offers an accessible and easy to use touch screen interface for Braille input specially designed for blind and visually despaired people.
According to the World Heath Organization there are 285 million visually despaired people worldwide: 39 million of which are blind and 246 million have low vision. About 90% of the world’s visually impaired people live in developing countries.
On the first stage of development Helena will focus on serving users in Spanish speaking developing countries of Latin America such as Peru, Chile and Colombia. On the later stages Helena pretend to serve the rest of the countries of Latin America and enter developing countries of Eastern Europe, such as Russia, Ukraine, Belorussia, among others.
Helena has no direct competitors that provide exactly the same services. On the other hand, there are some specialized competitors that provide Braille input, news content, and e-books for blind and visually despaired people.
Helena is different from its competitors because it offers accessible interface, cheaper service, access to specially adapted content for blind users, possibility to interact with published information using Braille input software, subscription to voice based news services, video recognition systems, sound notifications, and text-to-speech output.
Helena has highly experienced and skilled team of professionals:
• Henry Tong, bio: www.ummitech.com/henry
• AlinaBueno, an accomplished project and people manager with extensive experience in project management, requirements definition, software testing, and quality assurance in a variety of industries, including TI and Food Processing and Packaging
• Irina Rymshina MBA with a major in IT Management has experience in project formulation, operations management, and financial analysis of the IT projects that were funded by Wayra Peru, StartUp Chile, and funds of the Science and Technology program of the Government of Peru FINCyT and FIDECOM.
• John Hinojosa, expert in Accessible Technology for the visually impaired and experience leading non-profit projects to bring education and accessible content to blind people.
Helena has been selected to participate in the program of the Government of ChileStartUp Chile and was granted $40,000.
In this video we show a demo of one of its features: a virtual braille keyboard that can be used to input data into the device.