Apps for the Visually Impaired – Provided to the PCA Technology Workshop in February 2020 by Dr. David Lewerenz, OD, Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology at the UCHealth Sue Anschutz-Rodgers Eye Center:
Following are some smart phone and tablet apps designed to assist the visually impaired:
SuperVision+ (Free, iOS and Android), turns your phone into an electronic magnifier. There are many apps that do this, but this one, developed at Harvard, features image stabilization.
Visor ($1.99, iOS and Android) is another app that transforms your smart phone into a video magnifier. It has very simple controls for magnification and text/background colors.
For walking navigation using GPS there is Amedia NaviRed (Free, iOS) and Loadstone GPS ($7.99, iOS) and Lazarilla GPS for Blind (Free, Android)
To determine the color of clothing and other objects, there is Color ID (free, iOS and Android) and other similar apps available. Examine Clothes Color (Free, iOS) also describes the pattern on clothing.
The following apps use your phone’s camera and artificial intelligence to identify objects in your environment. Depending on the ap, some can identify currency, cans in your cupboard, read signs, process bar and QR codes, and recognize colors. Point your phone camera at the object and the app will speak what it is, such as “Campbell’s Tomatoe Soup”, or “five dollar bill”. They include Microsoft’s Seeing Al (free, iOS), iDentifi-Object Recognition (Free, iOS), Third Eye: Empowering the Blind (Free, iOS and Android), VocalEyes Al (Free, iOS), and Aipoly Vision (Free, iOS and Android).
If you would like to receive assistance from a human volunteer, you can use Be My Eyes (Free, iOS and Android) or BeSpecular (Free, iOS and Android). Point your phone camera at any item, such as a restaurant menu, a sign or food. You can ask the volunteer a question such as “How much is this check made out for?” and the volunteer will help you make sense of it as you converse with the volunteer.
MD_evReader (free, iOS and Android) and Scroll ‘n Roll ($0.99, iOS) are apps that can display an eBook or other text file a a single “marquee” line of scrolling text. For people who have difficulty tracking their eyes across a row of text this can make reading easier.
Actiview Movie Access (Free, iOS) makes movies more accessible to the visually (and hearing) impaired by providing audio description or, for the hearing impaired, amplified audio (via earphones), closed captioning or subtitles on your screen. It works in theaters and with movies you watch at home.
AIRA is not a phone app, but utilizes smart glasses to communicate with a trained assistant who receives your GPS coordinates and can see what your smart glasses see. The trained assistant also has access (if you choose to provide) to your social media sites and other preferences, such as preferred foods. The assistant can guide you in traveling to an appointment, help you find a person you might be looking for (if their picture is in one of your social media sites) and helps you order food by looking up the menu of a restaurant you might visit. Price includes the smart glasses and insurance on them, data service and training sessions, and can vary from $89 per month for 100 minutes/month to $329/month for unlimited access.
Thank you to the Cosgrove’s for giving us the following information:
PENfriend3 Voice Labeling System – Identify objects with voice labels and magnets. The upgraded design replaces the PenFriend2 with four easy to use yellow tactile operating buttons that contrast against black casing. Record your voice and mark household items onto self-adhesive labels. Simple on/off function for recording prevents you from having to hold record button. Transfer MP3 music files to your PenFriend3. 250 plus house of recording time. These can be purchased at many places like MaxiAid.com and Amazon.com.
Tulip Dimensional Fabric Paint: All paints/colors come in easy-squeeze bottles so they’re user friendly for hands of all ages. This can be used by placing a DOT on anything from the 30 second setting on a microwave to anything that you commonly use around the house so that it makes it easier to identify. Can be purchased at any craft store such as Joann’s to Michael’s and even hardware stores and Amazon.
Rubber Bands & Paperclips: Use rubber bands and paperclips on clothing to identify front or back or top or bottom
Craft Cork Stickers – great for using on items like you would with the above Tulip Fabric Paint.
Microsoft’s Dictate – Hands Free Typing. How To Install Dictate add-in for Office: Go to www. windowscentral.com/how-add-hands-free-typing-office-apps#install_dictate.com. Instructions are in this link as well.
ScripTalk Station from En-Vision America – Currently, there are many people that have difficulty reading or understanding the contents and instructions of their prescription medications. The small print and look-alike packaging of medicine vials can lead to confusion, non-compliance, and mistakes. En-Vision America has created a solution to this serious issue with ScripTalk Station. For more information on how to have your pharmacy participate and issue your prescriptions with a ScripTalk Station, call En-Vision America: 1-800-890-1180.