Whether it's because of their complexity or their tiny touchscreen keyboards, smartphones are difficult for many seniors to use. While there are already simplified big-buttoned phones, older buyers may still wish to have a little more choice when shopping for a phone. That's where EziSmart comes in. It's a case for existing popular Android smartphones, that makes them both physically and mentally easier to operate.
EziSmart was created by Norway-based British telecommunications engineer Richard Chan, after some frustrating experiences trying to have telephone conversations with his mother back in the UK.
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It features a physical keypad which covers much of the phone's screen. Its large keys are easy to see plus each one is slightly concave, allowing users with limited motor skills to keep their finger in place when pushing them. When users wish to access some of the phone's other functions, that keypad can be slid out of the way.
Additionally, the case also features an emergency call button that works with an app on the phone. When pressed – in the event of a mishap such as a fall – it automatically sends an SMS with the user's GPS coordinates to family members. If they don't respond, the message is automatically relayed to a manned emergency help desk. Chan was inspired to add that feature after his mother ended up lying on the floor for five hours, waiting for help after falling down.
He has now partnered with Norway's SINTEF research group to develop the technology, and plans on testing it with elderly test subjects in that country. A Kickstarter campaign will be launched later this month, to raise production funds.