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Insignia Annouces Talking HD Radio For Vision Impaired

5/21/2012 12:01:00 AM Eastern

MINNEAPOLIS — Best Buy house brand Insignia announced
last week that it will bring to market an HD Radio
designed for the blind and visually
impaired.

The Narrator radio includes audible
voice responses, access to local HD
Radio broadcasts of reading services,
and an ergonomic design designed in
collaboration with the International Association
of Audio Information Services
(IAAIS) to be accessible for people with
visual impairments. It was introduced
last week at the IAAIS annual conference
in Houston.

In partnering with the IAAIS, the design
team was able to identify those
radio features most requested by the
roughly 20 million Americans who live with vision loss or
impairment, David Noble, chairman of government relations
at the IAAIS, told TWICE.

The Narrator’s key features include audible voice prompts
on each of the seven function buttons, button layout and
markings that are intuitively designed, 20-programmable
presets and 3.5mm headphone jack. The radio has an ergonomic
design, with a upward tilting face and a downward
tilting top, that makes fingertip control more accessible.

The radio features an aux-in jack and AM/FM antenna
inputs. The voice prompting can be turned off for use by
the non-impaired.

The Narrator includes an instructional audio CD in lieu
of an instruction manual.

“We chose to partner with the IAAIS to help identify and
solve for the everyday technology needs of people
with visual disabilities. The Narrator eliminates
the need to see the display.
Audible voice prompts tell
the user which button was
pressed, and when the radio’s
functions are activated,” said
senior product manager Mike
Dahnert. “The Narrator has universal
appeal, but is designed to
be simple for a person who cannot
see the display to operate.”

“Our association’s member stations
provide access to current print
so that people with disabilities can live more independently.
We offered our insights as to which accessible features
would make this radio a highly valuable product to
someone living with low vision or blindness. Now, with the
Narrator coming to market, people with visual disabilities
will have a radio that they can program and tune by themselves,”
said Noble.

The Narrator will ship in July with a retail of $99. Pre-orders
for the Narrator can be made now on BestBuy.com.
Noble said the IAAIS will also have a program in place to
market the radio through its local branches.

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