Nigerian students build tech that makes smartphones accessible to the blind

Humane was developed by Victor Shoaga, Ayodele Obasegun, Oyatope Blessing and Otaru Babatunde, all students of Electrical and Electronics Engineering at the Obafemi Awolowo University.

Victor Shoaga and Babatunde Otaru of Team Humane

Humane is virtual sensory software platform that allows visually impaired users to perform tasks which they wouldn't be able to perform normally on their phones.

According to Techpoint, Humane was developed by Victor Shoaga, Ayodele Obasegun, Oyatope Blessing and Otaru Babatunde, all students of Electrical and Electronics Engineering at the Obafemi Awolowo University, as a presentation for the 2014 Microsoft Imagine Cup. As such, it is still only available on the Windows Phone platform.

In the report, Techpoint says that Humane makes smartphone operation easier for the visually impaired. It helps them select music files, play selected videos (though they can only listen), surf the web, set or check the time, and so on.

Humane was developed as an application software and therefore is not available for public download. It was developed so companies who are prospective buyers could add their own modifications to it, although individual buyers will still find it useful as it is, investigations reveal.

The Humane software works alongside a manual controller. The software itself is downloaded into the user’s phone and then the user is given the controller and an identification number. The identification number is entered into the app on the users phone for compatibility with the controller, meaning only one controller is able to work with a single software.

The manual controller has two dongles for scrolling and a central “select” button, making it pretty easy to use.

The app also has a voice guide to notify when Humane has been successfully activated - software, controller and all - but the biggest merit is that for an app that can do so much, it's connection is simply by Bluetooth – the same way two phones are connected when you want to send files.

The entire project is still in its developmental stages but this is one of the most useful and ingenious applications of tech you will find this side of the world.

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