Living with low vision or blindness can present numerous challenges on a day-to-day basis. Simply running errands, preparing meals, recognizing faces, and performing tasks at home or work can become overly complicated and frustrating, to say the least. Fortunately, there are plenty of services available to offer assistance to visually impaired people, and access to these services is even easier thanks to smarthphones and other digital devices.
In order to help you or a family member find the best iOS or Android device apps designed specifically for the visually impaired, we have compiled a list of our top 10 favorites.
Created by IBM Research scientist Chieko Asakawa and Carnegie Mellon University Cognitive Assistance Laboratory, NavCog is a brand new app that allows the visually impaired to successfully navigate the world around them with turn-by-turn guidance not unlike GPS. The app is a computer vision navigation application that provides real-time information about where an individual is, which direction they are facing, and other information about the surroundings. The app can be used to navigate both indoors and outdoors using Bluetooth signals.
Designed by the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, EyeNote allows users to scan U.S. paper currency to determine the denomination. The application is a valuable aid for visually impaired or blind individuals when making purchases or transactions. The app can communicate the value of the paper money via tone, vibration, or spoken word.
Using the camera technology on iPhones and other devices, TapTapSee was designed specifically to help the blind or visually impaired accurately identify everyday objects without the need for sighted assistance. Simply tapping the screen to take a photo, the user will hear the app correctly name the item.
- Big Browser
Navigating the web can be particularly difficult for these with low vision. Big Browser allows users to adjust color themes and zoom in on content for an easier read. The app is also equipped with a larger keyboard and controls that are easier to see.
- RAY App
The RAY App replaces the traditional click interaction of Android devices with touch and directional swipe gestures for easy, eye-free navigation. From voice-operated messaging to online audio books and color identification, the RAY App makes any Android device visually impaired-friendly.
Comfortably and quickly type and text using a customizable brailler that utilizes VoiceOver as well as audio feedback to ensure simple navigation. The app also features a blind-friendly design that eliminates typing accidents.
- AFB CareerConnect
Created by The American Foundation for the Blind (AFB), CareerConnect is a free online resource for those who are blind or visually impaired. The app allows users to explore careers and learn about navigating the employment process from others who are blind or visually impaired.
- Voice Dream Reader
Voice Dream Reader is a voice-based mobile app that allows the blind or visually impaired to read anything that contains text, such as websites, local files on your device, Bookshare, and more. The app offers customizable text and reading options, such as different font sizes and colors, as well as text-to-speech reading in a variety of voices.
With more than 500,000 apps available for iPhone and Android devices, narrowing down apps that are suited for the visually impaired can be overwhelming. ViA was created by the Braille Institute to make apps designed for those with low vision or blindness easier to find and more accessible. The app can be customized to find apps that are appropriate for children.
- A Blind Legend
A Blind Legend is one of the first audio-only mobile video games available that is aimed at both sighted and non-sighted players. Using three-dimensional sound, the game features a blind knight who must journey to the High Castle Kingdom to rescue his wife with the help of his daughter Louise. Players navigate and interact with the game using the touchscreen.
Learn More from USC Roski Eye Institute
If you or someone you love lives with vision loss of any degree, the USC Roski Eye Institute is committed to providing the solutions to make everyday life easier. To learn more from our renowned ophthalmology team and our treatment options, please do not hesitate to give us a call at (323) 442-6335 or submit a contact form today.
For more information about the USC Roski Eye Institute or to support the Institute by making a tax-deductible gift, please contact Rebecca Melville, senior director of development, at 323.442.5396 or via email at Rebecca.Melville@med.usc.edu.