Joins.com, South Korea.
Monday, April 17, 2006.
It didn't matter that red carpets were not rolled out yesterday for the opening of the LG Digital Talking Book Library, after all, its users are blind. Rigged with networking technology, the LG Sangnam Library in Wonseo-dong, central Seoul celebrated its renewal as an audio library with infrastructure for the visually impaired.
Using computing technology such as radio frequency identification chips, blind people are able to access the library's digital talking books through mobile phones, the Internet or fixed-line telephones.
Although users of the service do not have to actually visit the library, they can go to the physical library and browse for books using a mobile phone with a special embedded chip. A computer network identifies the user, who can then listen to streamed audio versions of books, or download contents to their handset for later use.
Testing her cell phone yesterday, 16-year-old Sun Ji-won, a student at the Korea Braille School, placed her cell phone next to a computer reader and a friendly voice floated out: "Welcome! Last time, we read Harry Potter up to page two. Would you like to continue?"
"Logging onto the Internet was not easy for me, but this library is really easy to use," she said. Unlike other mobile services that require a connection, this special phone for the blind uses Bluetooth, a wireless networking system that allows the phone to pick up signals and automatically connect to the main computer when the user comes within a certain radius of a book.
"Blind users want to use cell phones without going through the various levels of manipulating keys. Authorization processes are also made easy with this technology," said Seon Gyeong-sik, a senior researcher at LG Electronics.
Those who do not have a chip-embedded phone can access the library's server for the same database at
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