When I look at the many applications out there, I become more and more aware of all the free applications available to those who are blind or visually impaired that really can open up the world.
Lacey Long, vision teacher with Morton County, was over to visit our facility and mentioned some of the applications her students use, and I was pleasantly surprised at the number of them that don’t require any cost. I am going to mention just a few applications but know that there are thousands of free applications that may be able to solve a problem.
Platform: iOS and Android
What it does: This is a mobile camera application where you take a photo of anything, and it will tell you what is in the photo. Do you have two jars of food and can’t tell which one is pickles and which one is spaghetti sauce? Or did someone send you a photo on Instagram or Facebook and you are wondering what is in the photo? This application will tell you that and much more. To use it you must double tap to use your camera to take a photo; and if you want it to speak, you must use VoiceOver or TalkBack on your phone.
What I like: I like that it identifies objects and people by using your camera. I like that you can take a current photo and use it to identify what is in the photo and it is easy to share the photo on social media with the tag attached.
What could be better: It can take a couple of seconds to identify the items in the photo and sometimes isn’t as descriptive as I wish it would be. I tried it on a prescription bottle and it only told me that it was a prescription bottle; it did not indicate what kind of medication it was.
Platform: iOS and Android
What it does: You can point your camera at an object and the application will tell you what color it is. The color indicator is in the middle of your screen, so it is fairly easy to point the camera at the object.
What I like: I like that it is fast and easy and has an exotic color option that is fun to play with but not really helpful to someone like me who mostly wants to know if something is black or red not SHARK or OLD BRICK.
What could be better: It is not a perfect color indicator as it said, “Very pale purplish blue” for my off-white kitchen cupboards. My friends noted that it would be nice if the application gave you an option of asking you what kind of crayon box person you are. Are you a 12 crayon box type, a 24 crayon box type, a 64 crayon box type, or a jumbo 120 crayon box type? I am a 12 crayon box type; just give me the basics, please.
What is does: This currency reader application was developed by the Bureau of Engraving and Printing. You use the camera on your iPhone or iPad to take a photo, and then it will tell you whether the bill is a $1 bill, $2, $5, $20, $50, or $100 and whether it is the front of the bill or the back. It really works well and is pretty fast.
What I like: This application is fast and you don’t have to have the bill perfectly lined up for it to work. It will also tell you if only a part of the bill is showing. There is also a privacy mode which uses vibrations to indicate the denomination of the bill. Some people might like this better when getting back bills from a store and you don’t want to be as obvious, or if you are checking funds you get out of an ATM.
What could be better: I wish it worked with Andoid phones.
What it does: It is also a currency reader and will read U.S. currency. You hover your camera over the bill, and it will tell you what bill it is. You must have text to speech voice turned on to use this application.
What I like: I liked that it would pretty easily indicate the currency, especially if it is lined up and most of the bill is showing.
What could be better: I thought this application didn’t work quite as well as EyeNote. It wasn’t quite as fast and sometimes couldn’t read the bill if only part of it is showing or if the bill is at an angle.
Cost $9.99 (NOT FREE but I thought I should mention this one because it really is a good application)
What it does: This application is also a currency indicator like the EyeNote but it is even faster and will read twenty-one different currencies. Currencies that are supported are: the US Dollar, Australian Dollar, Bahraini Dinar, Brazilian Real, Belarusian Ruble, British Pound, Canadian Dollar, Euro, Hungarian Forint, Israeli Shekel, Indian Rupee, Japanese Yen, Kuwaiti Dinar, Mexican Peso, New Zealand Dollar, Polish Zloty, Russian Ruble, Saudi Arabian Riyal, Singapore Dollar, and United Arab Emirates Dirham.
What I like: This application is faster than the EyeNote and can be used in other countries.
What could be better: I wish it worked with Android phones.