If you have a visual impairment or are blind, you can take advantage of assistive technology to help you in day-to-day life. If you need help when running errands, preparing meals, or performing tasks at work or home, you can relieve some frustrations by using these apps.
These image recognition software applications allow you to identify items, including products, plants, and currency. You can do this by using a smartphone camera.
We’ve outlined the top apps that are recommended for anyone who needs support along these lines. You can download any of the following apps on your iOS device or Android for free.
You can download all the following listed apps for free except the last listing, the OneStep (formerly KNFB) reader. This app is often viewed as well worth the investment, as the software allows you to read just about anything by Braille or speech.
Here are the best apps for the visually impaired and blind:
With the help of the TapTapSee app, visually impaired and blind individuals may accurately identify objects they come across in their everyday lives without relying on a sighted guide. In order to get a detailed visual and auditory description of an object, iPhone users only need to take a photo of it from any angle and play back the results.
The app’s auto-focus notifications and sharing features are especially noteworthy. For instance, you can get an extra look at your most recent photo verification if you ask for it. Finally, you may use your phone’s image library to submit photographs for identification, and the app will save both the images and their accompanying descriptions for future use.
Just double-tap the left side of your screen to record a video or tap the right side twice to take a photo. TapTapSee will analyze a 2D or 3D dimensional object from any angle in seconds. The software’s VoiceOver then gives you the identification outloud.
2. Lookout by Google
Lookout uses your smartphone’s back camera to detect landmarks and provide what it deems to be vital data about your immediate surroundings.
Signs indicating an exit, the location of a restroom, adjacent people or objects, or even the words on a page in a book are all examples of such cues. Lookout’s voice alerts are meant to be utilized with a minimum of effort on your part, so they don’t interfere with your work.
Visit Google Play to get the download.
3. Seeing AI
Microsoft’s Seeing AI is an app that uses your phone’s back camera to recognize and narrate your surroundings, transforming the environment into something that can be heard. The app’s recognition capabilities extend to things, words, and even human faces. If your vision impairment prevents you from accomplishing a number of tasks, Seeing AI can help.
Just tune in to the Scene Preview station. Double-tap the “Take Photo” button when you’re ready to snap the shot. The application will give a detailed account of the surrounding area. A “Close” button appears at the top of the display. Options to download and share the image are provided beneath the caption.
Download the talking camera Seeing AI from the Apple App store.
Sometimes, less is more when it comes to usability. Supersense is another wonderful piece of software that, despite a few small issues, may give you more self-assurance when you’re out and about.
Streaming video from your phone’s camera is used in the Object Explorer mode of the app. There is no need to shoot photographs and then wait for them to be uploaded and assessed.
Similarly, if you’re in a room and curious about what’s in it, you may launch Supersense and switch on Object Explorer.
As you slowly move your phone across a room, the app will announce the names of various pieces of furniture, such as couches, chairs, lamps, and picture frames. Another benefit of this real-time identification is that it might help you to quickly get your bearings in a strange place or at work.
Get the scanner app, Supersense by downloading it here.
5. Be My Eyes
Be My Eyes connects the visually impaired with sighted volunteers who use a mobile app and webcam to determine the identities of items.
Unlike competing applications, Be My Eyes doesn’t require you to snap a photo in order to speak with the volunteer on the other end. Instead, you may use live video chat.
A blind person may connect with sighted individuals, point their smartphone camera at an object, and receive descriptive information about it. The app will continue to ring until the two devices are linked.
You can become part of the Be My Eyes community when you get matched with a sighted volunteer.
When you’re in a jam, this is an excellent app to have on hand. The software provides a novel and easy way to recruit an online volunteer to assist with a certain task. You can receive several answers to your inquiries. It provides several options to help you find the solution you’re looking for.
The unique feature of this software is the ability to ask a question and attach a photo of the item you want identified to a community of volunteers who will attempt to provide an answer.
A visually impaired individual can pose a query, for instance, by taking a picture of an outfit they want to wear and asking a community of volunteers for input on whether or not the shoes go with the outfit.
7. Cash Reader
Check out the Cash Reader app if you need to distribute cash or tally up cash that has been handed to you. This gadget not only audibly announces the denomination, but it also vibrates and shows it in very large figures on the screen.
The program may be used in a wide variety of languages and with more than 100 different currencies. It may be used in a range of situations, including when only a fraction of a bill is visible to the camera. Get the right amount of change or some help calculating your money by using Cash Reader.
Whether you’re traveling abroad or conducting an everyday transaction, you may find this app useful. Download it now for free.
8. Color ID (1.2)
Color ID uses the camera on your smartphone to speak the names of hues and shades in real time. The unique augmented reality app allows you to learn more about the colors around you. You’ll like the specific names for the colors, such as moon mist or lavender rose. This app is fun for just about everyone.
Learn more about Color ID at this link.
9. The KNFB (OneStep Reader) App
The National Federation for the Blind (NFB) along with Sensotec NV developed the KNFB (OneStep Reader) reader for people who are dyslexic, low-vision, or blind. The award-winning software can convert text to either Braille or speech. You can get this app for Windows 10, Android, and iOS devices.
With the app, you can independently read restaurant menus, receipts, brochures, and mail. It allows you to review receipts, read package labels, and scan product or nutritional information. If you need to review legal documents, you can do so with this app. You can even read e-books in one of 30 different languages.
Just visit the Apple app store, Google Play, or the Microsoft store to access this software.
The reader works by taking a photo of the text and then turning it into Braille or reading it out loud. You can also save, share, or export your documents.
While this app is not free (it’s $99.99), many users find it is well worth the investment in terms of what it can do and how it can assist anyone who has challenges when reading the printed word.
Thanks to developments in image-recognition technology, formerly mysterious items in your environment may now be easily identified via a smartphone app. Whether it’s a plant, rock, piece of jewelry, or even cash, these applications can help you identify it.
You may change the visibility settings for individual programs if you have trouble seeing the screen while using them without impacting the rest of the program.
Research into apps to help people who are visually impaired or blind is ongoing. It’s likely that we’ll continue to see improvements in these apps as well as innovative new apps in the coming years.
A Systematic Literature Review on the Usability of Mobile Applications for Visually Impaired Users. (November 2021). PeerJ Computer Science.
Smartphone Apps for Visually Impaired Persons. (January 2019). Kerala Journal of Ophthalmology.
Last Updated March 15, 2023
Note: This page should not serve as a substitute for professional medical advice from a doctor or specialist. Please review our about page for more information.
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