Innovators of Eyes-Free Smartphone Technologies Reimagine Solution to Distracted Driving

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Project RAY patented technology for the blind, helps drivers use mobile apps without ever looking at their phones.

“It suddenly hit us that the solution to this problem has been in our hands all along”, said Michael Vakulenko, Project Ray founder. “Eyes-free technology can help more than just the blind.”

Looking at your phone blinds you to the road. This was the a-ha! moment for the developers at Project Ray, market leaders in making Smartphone technology accessible to the blind and visually impaired. “It suddenly hit us that the solution to this problem has been in our hands all along”, said Michael Vakulenko, Project Ray founder. “Eyes-free technology can help more than just the blind.” With RayGo, their newest technology launched earlier this month to Indiegogo, they aim to minimize the risk factor of Smartphone usage on the road.

To start, Project-Ray set out to simplify Smartphone use, thus makes it less of a distraction. RayGo is a steering wheel-mounted five-key “remote control” that allows drivers to intuitively operate a Smartphone, including receiving and responding to messages, while keeping hands on the wheel and eyes on the road. The RayGo app transforms the Smartphone to DriveMode, an eye-free user interface with simplified versions of popular apps like Messenger, WhatsApp, Gmail, Skype and Pandora. DriveMode replaces complex graphics with easy-to-glance-at screens and voice prompts, while touch-screen gestures are replaced by simple key presses on the controller.

Distracted driving is a leading cause of accidents, and those most at risk are teenagers and women, studies show. Hands-free devices aren't enough to minimize distraction while driving, because using Smartphone apps creates elaborate distraction. Problem is, most people who use their Smartphones while driving do so despite being aware of the dangers. RayGo provides a much safer way to engage with your Smartphone while driving. The system analyzes driving terms to recognize ideal times to push app notifications. For example, the controller’s motion sensor, along with the phone’s GPS and gyroscope, prevents the app from pushing distracting notification while the driver is changing lanes, making a turn, or speeding.

Since RayGo was launched to Indiegogo, in time for national distracted-driving awareness month, the campaign has raised over $20,000 of its $30,000 goal within 2 weeks – http://igg.me/at/getraygo .

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Project RAY is a Tel-Aviv-based startup developing mobile software that powers Smartphones and smart watches for the blind and visually impaired since 2011. In cooperation with Qualcomm Wireless Reach program, Project RAY created an affordable Smartphone device tailored for the unique needs of eyes-free operation. Now the company is using its eye-free, simplified Smartphone operation systems to provide a unique and applicable solution to distracted driving. RayGo, a steering wheel mounted Smartphone controller and app system, helps drivers avoid distractions that make them blind to the road. Ray Go has been recently launched to Indiegogo.

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Boaz Zilberman
Project RAY
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