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British Wireless for the Blind Fund (BWBF) has now confirmed the launch of a ground-breaking new app on IOS and Android. Speech Radio harnesses technology that has never before been used in a mobile app to allow the user to control its functionality and operations entirely by voice.

Calling on more than 90 years of experience working with those living with sight loss around the country, Speech Radio builds on BWBF’s lockdown campaign which has seen it delivering hundreds of specially adapted radios to recipients around the country during the pandemic to help reduce isolation and loneliness during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The voice-controlled Speech Radio app will give users access to more than 10,000 radio stations. When users don’t wish to control all of the features and functions within the app with their voice, they can simply say “speech off”. The device’s standard TalkBack functionality will take over to turn off the command. In addition to speech interaction, a built-in gesture mode provides additional means of control when voice is not available.

David Beard, the application project manager for BWBF said, “BWBF has been working away now for the last 6 years since setting-up an in-house application development team. We are extremely proud to launch our flagship app at a time when access to live radio is more important than ever. We’re confident that Speech Radio will have a positive impact on the lives of many living with sight loss in the UK. It will provide easy access to content along with supportive ways of accessing preferred content; the user could simply say ‘Cricket’ or ‘New York News’ for example to call up a list of relevant stations.

“We are extremely proud of the app. As a small team, it has been a big challenge to navigate, but our determination and desire to support the lives of those living with sight loss, have allowed us to build a remarkable product.”

Speech Radio is now free to download on IOS and Android.