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CATEGORY: Quality of life (Show all)
TAGLINE: Allowing the exchange of text messages easy for illiterate people
KEYWORDS: illiteracy, App, SMS, Windows
With over 800 million people on the planet who can't read and write, the Easy SMS concept app for Windows Phone is as easy as it gets - it uses text-to-speech and pictures instead of words to convey a message.
Considering that most of these people live in poorer countries, with less access to communication infrastructure, where often your sole means of wireless communication is a beat-up Nokia phone, the project might come in handy for Nokia's ideas to bring communication to the "next billion people" via cheap but capable handsets. Provided it can pull this trick off with Windows Phone handsets, of course, as opposed to Symbian devices, which was the original intention.
Easy SMS is developed by a team at the EPFL university in Switzerland as a class assignment, touched by stories of immigrants around them who can't find an easy way to stay in touch with their loved ones back home. Besides not being able to read or write, these people are having trouble even managing contacts in their phone books, recognizing people only by the last calls list, digits in their numbers, or the country code.
Mobile operating systems nowadays are mostly text-centric so the team rolled up their sleeves, read interviews how people in poor rural regions of India live, for example, and started meeting with illiterate folks at a nearby reading school in Losanne. The end result allows people to:
Have a look at the Easy SMS project presentation video below. The team needs some votes since it has submitted its work at the USA Imagine Cup 2011 competition, and is one of the 124 finalists invited next month in New York, so if you like what you are seeing, you can vote for their work.
Website EPFL: http://wiki.epfl.ch/
Link Project EasySMS: http://design.epfl.ch/easysms/blog/texting4all/Home.html