Imagine a world where technology can help you do everything from reading a text to crossing the street. For blind or visually impaired people, this isn’t just a pipe dream—it’s reality. Advances in artificial intelligence and other cutting-edge technologies have led to the development of some truly great apps for the visually impaired that are designed to help people live more independent, productive lives.
As we move into 2023, here are eight game-changing apps that the visually impaired should know about.
Be My Eyes
This app connects blind people with volunteer helpers from all over the world who can offer assistance with tasks like reading a text or checking expiration dates on food items.
Aira is an app that uses AI and augmented reality to provide real-time assistance to blind people in their everyday lives. With Aira, you can get help with directions, approximate wait times for an elevator, and much more.
TapTapSee is an app that uses your smartphone’s camera to identify objects around you. Simply point your camera at an object and tap the screen—the app will tell you what it is.
Google Maps is a godsend for anyone struggling to orient themselves in unfamiliar surroundings. The app’s “Live View” feature uses augmented reality to provide turn-by-turn directions overlaid on your phone’s camera view, making it easy to find your way—even if you’ve never been there.
An app that uses your phone’s camera to provide information about the world around you. The app can identify people, read text, and even describe scenes in great detail.
Voice Dream Reader
Voice Dream Reader is an app that reads digital text aloud, making it easy for blind people to consume books, articles, and other written materials. The app supports various file formats, including PDFs, Word documents, and ePubs.
KNFB Reader is another great app for reading digital text aloud. In addition to its high-quality text-to-speech functionality, KNFB Reader offers braille display support, making printed material easy to read.
Check out the comprehensive list of products available through the National Federation of the Blind Connect program, which offers discounts on assistive technology products for eligible individuals who are legally blind and interested in obtaining these devices.
Technology has come a long way in recent years, and now this is more evident than assistive technology for blind people. “In just a few short years, we’ve gone from apps that simply read text aloud to apps that use AI and augmented reality to provide real-time assistance with tasks like navigation and object identification,” says Thomas Panek, President & CEO of Guiding Eyes for the Blind.” As someone who has been living with blindness myself for over 30 years,” he adds, “I can say with confidence that the future is bright for blind people all over the world.”