There are about 285 million visually impaired people worldwide but how do we, the people with the perfect vision miss them? While there is still a long way to go when it comes to making the infrastructure and the world safer for our visually impaired friends, the technological developments and smartphone apps are stepping up to help make their lives a little more comfortable and giving them the confidence to step out of their house feeling safer.
Smartphones have been a great help already, whether it be reading what is written on the screen with the help of an AI, telling the time or even reading street signs but now apps like Envision and Be my Eyes are taking it up a notch and helping with all this and much more.
ENVISION: By using artificial intelligence and the best of assistive technology it gauges the surrounding with the help of the smartphone camera and extracts information from the image, the artificial intelligence then provides an audio output for the user helping them experience independence. According to the co-founder Karthik Mahadevan, assistive technology otherwise used has been outdated and can not be afforded by everyone, by using artificial intelligence and making an app, it becomes a lot more affordable.
The Envision app’s recognition tools can read any kind of texts or handwriting, can read up to 60 languages, describes the scene, detects colour and also recognizes faces!
BE MY EYES: Be my eyes is a free app that connects blind and low-vision people with sighted volunteers through live video call at any given time. The application has a minimalistic design making it extremely user friendly, Be My Eyes supports over 180 languages and is by far the largest online community of the visually impaired. 90% of the video calls are answered under 30 seconds making it effective.