Health Care 3.0

Health Care Trends With a Social Media Twist

Apps helping the blind & visually impaired

Touchscreens are just that - you must touch the screen in order for the device to function. Seems easy enough right? For those who are visually impaired or blind, this isn't such a simple task. I was curious to see what kind of devices or applications are out there addressing this issue and what I found was not only encouraging, but brilliant. Below are descriptions of 3 apps helping to solve all sorts of problems presented with blindness, along with videos to help clearly define how they work.

BrailleTouch is an app that allows for typing without ever seeing the screen. Developed by Georgia Tech researchers, 3 fingers grip the device on each side & are situated on the 6 dots of a braille character where he or she can press the appropriate patterns to create text. An audio feedback confirms that the correct letter was selected. Tests have shown that users can reach up to 32 words per minute with accuracy of 92 percent.

Engineers at Vanderbilt University have an Android app for tablets to help assist the blind in learning math. Something as visual as algebra can become very frustrating to the visually impaired. By touching a line or other objects on the screen, the program activates the built-in vibrator so that the object can be felt. An audio aid also helps to identify the figure.

Something I have never thought of is how the blind decipher between dollar bills, since all US bills are the same size, shape & weight. The LookTel app makes use of the camera on your phone. In real time, the user can wave their cell over the bill & an audio display will speak the bill's value, with no need for internet connection.

Have you heard of other apps or devices helping the visually impaired? Do you know of someone using these or other services to help better their lives? Feel free to share below. Thanks.

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Tags: Blind, app, impaired, smartphone, text, visually

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