Distracted driving has become a real problem and Fingertips Lab wants to help solve it. While there are other hands-free solutions on the market, Fingertips Lab has a slightly different one with their O6. The O6 is a mechanical button/dial that manipulates the content on your phone and works with an included app. The company is still working on implementing more apps and services and refining its software but the guts are there to start using. Over time I think it will improve and get better.
We have a review unit in-house I’ve been playing with for a few weeks and we should have a full review in the coming weeks. Initial impressions are, it works well with the supported apps and services. I do wish the voice used for read-back was more natural and I wish the steering wheel clamp was adjustable. I still need a bit more time to really flesh this thing out and hopefully have the full review soon. For now, check out the Fingertips Lab O6 press release and video below.
FULL PRESS RELEASE
San Francisco, California (PRWeb) June 14, 2017 – Fingertips Lab announces the availability of its award-winning O6 today – an elegant “eyes-free” controller for communications, apps, and music, connecting via Bluetooth to any iPhone. The free O6 App, which consists of channels such as emails, notifications, Twitter, news and more, works in conjunction with O6 to narrate content. Together, they make staying connected as simple as listening to the radio, whether driving, walking or at home.
O6 technology uses AI to convert content users would typically read in apps into radio stations. Users can scroll to hear their social feeds, text messages and emails without ever speaking a word or looking at phones. They can also respond to messages, get directions, call phone numbers; or control music, podcasts and audiobooks without touching the screen (O6 supports Spotify, Audible, Apple Music, Podcasts, Netflix, YouTube etc).
“The inception for O6 began in a school for the blind in India, where we saw children hindered by their lack of sight, unable to access modern mobile devices which are designed for visual interaction. When we returned to the U.S., we observed the problem of visual interactions is not limited to the visually impaired – dependence on smartphones is utterly ubiquitous!” says Fingertips Lab Co-Founder PK Mishra. “What morphed from an initial desire to create a device that bridges connectivity between the visually impaired and mobile devices, has now expanded to the mission of creating a device that allows for a new concept – eyes-free browsing.”
Browsing is the most common way phones are used on any given day from checking email to social media. Unlike traditional voice command systems like Siri and Google Voice that require users to zero in on a specific question or command, O6 is designed to perform the complex interactions and browsing tasks we normally perform with our hands.
Staying abreast of incoming communications and notifications becomes seamless as messages are read aloud, allowing users to curate content that interests them, similar to toggling between radio stations.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that at any given daylight moment, 542,000 drivers handle smartphones and manipulate electronic devices (NHTS.dot.gov, 2015). Leading tech and auto companies have sought to address this epidemic through the creation of audio-only technology (i.e. voice command systems) as well as visual technologies (i.e. heads-up Displays, Apple CarPlay), but it’s not working.
O6 on the other hand acknowledges people’s dependence on cell phones and allows them to access them without taking their eyes off the road. By requiring touch as an input, and audio as an output, O6 furnishes a user flow that has been demonstrated to lead to minimal performance declines in dual-task experiment studies (read more on the O6 blog).
Visually Impaired Audiences
O6’s powerful advanced mode leverages iOS VoiceOver to remotely browse, control and toggle between virtually any app (not native to the O6 app) without touching the screen. Adjustable settings, such as speech rate, pitch or navigation by alphabets/characters/words, were designed specifically to cater to the visually impaired community.
O6 is available in Cool Gray and Tangerine Orange beginning today on http://www.o6app.com for an MSRP of $99. Both accessories – the Pocket Clip and Steering Wheel Mount – are available for $19 each.
O6 currently only supports iOS devices (iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch); Android support is in the works. O6 supports 27 international languages and its rechargeable battery has a lifespan of 5-7 days.