Life is quite different for people who are visually impaired. They have to resort to assistance from others just to carry out some of the most basic tasks that normal people can do themselves. However, the world has come a long way in terms of technology and digitization. Just as there are innovations to improve the daily lives of able people, disabled people also get a fair share of innovations to make their lives easier. Here are three apps and an innovative device that helps to improve the lives of blind people in the digital age.
This post is inspired by the BBC Digital Planet podcast: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/w3csz994
Be my eyes
Be My Eyes is an app that can be downloaded on both Android and iOS. It captures the power of technology and human connection to bring sight to people with vision loss. Through a live video call, volunteers supply blind and low-vision users with visual assistance for tasks ranging from matching colors to checking if the lights are on, to preparing dinner.
Seeing AI is another incredible app that is available both on Android and iOS. It is primarily used to describe short text, documents, products, people, currency scenery, colors, handwriting, and light. The app can scan a barcode to describe a product and uses sounds to assist the user in focusing on the barcode.
Microsoft Soundscape uses 3D audio technology to help people who are blind or have low vision explore their surroundings by allowing users to set audio beacons at familiar destinations and landmarks, and then use 3D audio cues to improve their ambient awareness
The fourth eye is an innovative device for blind people. It has a white cane slip-on slip-off feature which allows a person to use the device with or without the white cane. It is used to warn the user of obstacles up to 3 meters away. There are 3 levels of obstacle detection; 0.6 meters, 1.5 meters, and 3 meters. It can detect above-knee level obstacles otherwise missed by the white cane. A single charge on it can last up to three weeks. For durability, it is made out of robust material which absorbs shock from most impacts it may be subjected to.