People who have normal vision spend several hours a day staring at their electronic devices: computer screens, iPads, iPhones and others. However, there is another significant segment of the population that uses these devices, but never sees their screens. IPads, iPhones and Smartphones are making life easier for the blind and visually impaired. Here are seven apps for the visually impaired.
Ariadne GPS is a GPS app that has been adapted for blind users. It rotates the map, so that the top of the screen is always in front of the user, and vibrates when a street is being crossed. Using this map, users can touch the screen to explore their surroundings. Ariadne GPS can be used anywhere that Google Maps covers.
Color ID Free
Color ID Free is a free app that can determine the color of almost anything. Using the iPhone’s camera, it audibly tells a user what color an item is. While Color ID Free might not distinguish between colored contacts, it can tell you if a tie matches or if cheese has mold on it.
LookTel Money Reader
LookTel Money Reader is able to determine what denomination a dollar bill is. Unfortunately, U.S. bills do not have brail on them. In the past, the visually impaired had to rely on others for help. Now, however, LookTel can take a picture of any U.S. currency and announce its value.
Light Detector converts the brightness of a light into a sound. As a light’s visual intensity increases, the sound’s intensity increases. This can be used to find lights that have been left on or open doorways.
Voice Brief reads any text that appears on a screen audibly. With this app, the blind can now “read” their email, Facebook page, websites and Twitter feed with ease. The full version costs $3.99, but there is a free, lite version available.
Hey Tell is an audio-based instant messaging system, which works like a walkie-talkie. After downloading the app, users ask others to join them through HeyTell. Once someone accepts, then an audible message can instantly be sent to him or her.
OMoby is a visual search app. It is slower than a traditional search engine, such as Google or Yahoo!. However, OMoby allows people to search using pictures. In many cases, it can correctly identify an object and the manufacturer. It then offers a shopping search or a search for more information. All users must do is take the picture. Best of all, this is a free app.
For many people who have minor trouble seeing, glasses or contact lenses are adequate. They might find these apps fun, but they will not be life-transforming. For those who suffer from a more serious vision impairment or blindness, these apps can open up a whole new world. Through these apps for the blind and visually impaired, the iPhone or Smartphone can almost become a pair of eyes.