Anyone with sight problems knows how frustrating it can be to use a computer. The mouse arrow is always too small. The text difficult to read.
Of course, most devices do have accessibility features such as zoom. But, of course, as soon as you magnify a page it becomes much more difficult to move around.
At a recent talk by Sight Concern – a local charity dedicated to supporting blind and partially sighted people to lead independent and fulfilling lives – we checked explored two apps specifically designed to help people who are blind or who have low vision.
Seeing AI describes itself as an intelligent camera app that narrates the world around you.
It works in multiple ways:
- It can read text – you hold the camera over text and the app will automatically read to you
- Describe products- move the phone over the product until you hear beeps that indicate a barcode is nearby. When a barcode is detected Seeing AI will announce the product name
- Describe people – scan your surroundings to find out how many people are around you, how close they are, and their facial expressions. You can even teach the app to recognise a particular person – their name will be announced when they come into view
- Currency recognition – hold the camera over a note to hear the estimated value
- Recognise scene – take a phone of a scene and hear a description of what’s around you
- Recognise colour – hear the perceived colour of objects
- Handwriting preview – recognise handwritten text
- Light – detect the amount of light around you
- Recognise images in other apps such as Mail and Photos
Several of the ‘channels’ are still in experimental phone so use with caution.
Seeing AI is currrently only available for iOS. For more information click here https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/ai/seeing-ai
Be My Eyes is a free app where sighted volunteers ‘lend their eyes’ to help solve problems for blind and low vision people.
You download the app to your smart phone and register. When you need help you make a free live video call, the volunteer who ansers can help with anything from checking expiry dates on food, reading instructions or navigating new surroundings.
For more information click here https://www.bemyeyes.com/
According to the Be My Eyes website there are currently 3,051,889 volunteers helping 172,507 blind and low-vision people in over 150 countries. Available on iOS and Android.