Singapore innovating in assistive technology

On the surface it's an iPod knock-off, with an FM radio and talking clock. But it also has a scanner and digital recorder. All the buttons are voice-activated, telling you what they do when you press them. It comes with 20 RFID labels which you can program (and re-program) to describe, say, the medicine bottle in a cabinet.

Gaishan Technology logoIt's the kind of innovation we used to associate with the U.S., but if you're blind and want to live independently it may be a godsend.

Label your stuff once, and read it when you need it.

It's the TellMate, from a company called Gaishan Technologies. (That's their logo to the right.) On the surface it's an iPod knock-off, with an FM radio and talking clock.

But it also has a scanner and digital recorder. All the buttons are voice-activated, telling you what they do when you press them. It comes with 20 RFID labels which you can program (and re-program) to describe, say, the medicine bottle in a cabinet.

It's currently available in England from Blink. At 250 pounds, about $500, it's pricey, but it's also early days yet. If volumes increase the price goes down.

E-Access Bulletin talked to a Gaishan spokesman who said 10 Americans and 50 Asians are also testing the device, and say they want a wider variety of inputs and output.

The next version, due this winter, will include an SD Flash slot so it could be used by many people in an institutional setting.

It is somewhat shocking that it has taken so long for such a device to come to market, since I've been writing about the concept since 2003. But better late than never.