With the advent of the smartphone, blind people have been given an unprecedented amount of freedom. No more are they confined to their homes, relying on friends and family to help them get out and get around.
Smartphones can be used as portable GPS devices, voice dialers, and even as white canes with features such as audible cues for nearby objects, vibrations upon reaching a set distance from an object, or speech synthesis that reads text aloud. These features allow blind people to go about their daily lives without having to rely on others for transportation.
In addition to the features that make smartphones an indispensable part of sighted life, however, there are also apps available for the blind that are specific to blindness. Some apps assist in learning Braille by translating digits into Braille or reading text aloud at a speed set by the user; others use speech synthesis to read menus and signs aloud (or even generate speech based on text input); and still others connect users with accessible taxis or give directions through synchronized walking directions.
The main purpose for accessibility apps is to help blind users navigate the world around them, which can be a difficult task. For example, there are apps that allow you to scan a room’s layout and immediately receive audio cues about potential obstructions such as walls and tables or even alert you if you’re pointing your phone camera at a mirror. This level of awareness helps users adapt to their surroundings and avoid common hazards. There are also tools that help with daily tasks such as sorting mail, reading text messages, filling out forms and remembering appointments. Many are free, but some apps cost money.
The blind, who have no central sense of sight, have to rely on other senses, such as hearing and touch, to get around in the world. While some people with low vision may be able to do many things that sighted people can do, like read books and drive cars, other tasks may be difficult for them. Fortunately, there are a number of assistive technologies available to help the blind and visually impaired access information and use their devices more easily. Here are 13 of the best apps and programs developed for the blind and visually impaired:
Top 13 Apps for the Blind and Visually Impaired
If you have a loved one who is blind and you are struggling to find the right gift, look no further. This list is a compilation of the 13 best Apps for the Blind as judged by their accessibility, functionality, and quality. The apps are organized into many different categories: Entertainment, Education, Everyday, and more.
1. TapTapSee – Assistive Technology for the Blind and Visually Impaired
People suffering from blindness or visual impairment have unique challenges as they navigate the world around them. Those who have lost their sight altogether face limitations in accessing information, experiences, and ideas to enrich their lives. TapTapSee is a free mobile app that allows users to scan items, people, and places via a smartphone camera, and receive spoken feedback about the item’s identity. This technology has already been adopted by many organizations worldwide: Google has added TapTapSee to its suite of accessibility resources, The Sightsavers charity uses it to identify children in regions without birth certificates, and the United States Postal Service has implemented it as part of its efforts to help the visually impaired feel more confident using its services.
TapTapSee is an mobile app that allows users to transform their phone into a device for sighted or low-vision users. The app uses photos to create an alternative method of seeing the world on a mobile device. TapTapSee has many features that make it beneficial for individuals who are blind or have low vision. It is compatible with Apple’s VoiceOver accessibility feature, which allows the user to hear what is happening on the screen. The app also works with other accessibility features, such as Zoom and White on Black.
TapTapSee’s main function is to help the user recognize people and objects around them by taking photos of everyday objects and people and labeling them with their names in text form. This feature works especially well in crowded areas, such as shopping malls or busy streets, where there are many faces to recognize but not enough time to ask for help every time you want to know who someone is.
Another function of TapTapSee is to provide directions when walking through a new place. It does this by taking photos of street signs and labeling them for the user when they get close enough. The text labels allow the user to feel confident about their surroundings without having to rely completely on their memory or asking for assistance from others when they get lost.
It is composed of two guiding principles: 1) use the smallest amount of data possible to describe an image; 2) get that description out as fast as possible. The first principle requires very little data to be transmitted between devices. For example, if a camera scans a person’s face, it will transmit only their gender and approximate age range (e.g., “between 20 and 40”). This allows users to experience information at lightning speed compared with other methods like text-to-speech.
2. Audible – Online Podcast service for Blind
The Audible app for blind people is now available for iOS devices. You can download the audio files onto your Apple devices and listen to it with this app. It was launched by Amazon.com, Inc. The app has been designed keeping in mind the needs of blind people. It is having features like the ability to navigate using Siri voice control, magnifying text with pinch-to-zoom gestures and the ability to interact with tables and charts.
Audible is an app that allows blind people to enjoy audio books. It’s a program that plays the books so you won’t have to read them, and it has some great features that make it possible to listen wherever you are without having to carry around heavy paperbacks. It includes a feature that allows you to adjust the speed of the reader and the voice itself. Also, if you get lost or want to repeat something, it has a built-in bookmarking system with quick navigation back and forth. This allows for easy access for those who would need to take lots of breaks from reading.
Audible also helps blind people stay on track with their reading challenge or goal by creating a friendly competition among friends. On their website, they have a place where you can add your name and how many minutes or hours of reading per week you want to complete. As long as you meet your goals each week, Audible will donate money in your name to charity, and if everyone in the group meets their goals, then they will donate more money than they would have otherwise.
3. Be My Eyes – Best App for the Blind in 2022
Be My Eyes is a simple and free tool that turns your webcam into a virtual pair of eyes. You can use it to see the world better, together. Be My Eyes is an app that connects the blind and visually impaired with sighted volunteers who can help take on everyday tasks like reading labels, identifying money and completing forms. When you connect with someone through Be My Eyes, you can give voice commands to identify objects, read text or fill out forms. The person on the other end of your chat can then describe what’s in front of them so you can understand.
Download the app on your phone or tablet, register (or log in if you’re using an existing account), and type in a task that you can help someone with. Your request will appear on the app’s map, where other users can see it; the best will be reviewed by Be My Eyes’ team before being sent to you for approval.
Though it may be hard to believe, there are people out there who are losing their sight as we speak—many of them are even losing their sight in the prime of their lives. They’re doctors and teachers and grandfathers who have suddenly found themselves robbed of the ability to see.
To help these people maintain some degree of independence, Be My Eyes is a simple tool that allows sighted volunteers to lend a hand—all you need is a computer with a webcam, a few seconds, and the desire to help out someone who can’t see well enough to retrieve something from the refrigerator or read a book.
While it may not be perfect, this is a unique app that has the potential to improve the lives of blind people everywhere. Hopefully, more updates will continue to fix some of its kinks, as well as add some new features, like live camera streaming and other communication options. So if you’re interested in getting involved with this humanitarian project, or are fortunate enough to have good eyes yourself, visit BeMyEyes.org for more information about how you can get involved. But regardless of whether or not you want to contribute your sight or your time, downloading this app for yourself and your friends could one day make an invaluable difference in someone’s life—and that’s worth sharing all by itself.
4. Cash Reader – Money Reading for the Blind
Banknotes have always been a challenge for the blind and visually impaired to identify—even if they are issued by the same country, they often look very different from one another. This can make it difficult to tell what each banknote is worth, which can be a problem when shopping or needing to count out change at a store. To help alleviate this issue, there are some apps that read the value of a note aloud, but most of them are designed for coins only and don’t work outside of the United States.
Cash Reader allows you to use your phone’s camera to identify any banknote in circulation (including historical notes). By using the technology, you’ll be able to hear the banknote’s value , instantly. If you’re traveling abroad, or even just across state lines, we’ll keep you up-to-date with new banknotes as they emerge. Cash Reader helps make the world of money more accessible for all!
5. BlindSquare – GPS navigation for Blind
BlindSquare is pioneering accessible navigation both indoors and outdoors. Know where you are, know where you’re going, travel with confidence.
In an ever-changing world, the inability of blind people to confidently navigate independently can be a significant barrier to success. Most blind people have a mental map of their surroundings, but they rely on someone else to guide them through unfamiliar environments such as an airport or retail store.
BlindSquare takes this burden off the guide and allows the user to navigate independently with just a smartphone and earbuds. The app’s navigation features include indoor and outdoor maps, step-by-step directions, and object detection using GPS, Wi-Fi triangulation, and sonar. This combination ensures that users can find their way around in any location from anywhere—at work, at home, or elsewhere.
The innovative app is designed to provide information about your surroundings, whether you’re inside a building or walking down the street. With one tap on your smartphone, it tells you where you are and how to get to your destination—whether it’s your office or the closest coffee shop. Through an audio interface with Braille support, BlindSquare opens up a new world of independence for people who are blind or visually impaired, and for everyone else too.
The app relies on a community of users (some of whom are blind and some who aren’t) to update its database with information about places of interest as well as hazards along the way. This crowdsourcing ensures that the app is always accurate and current.
Once BlindSquare has identified a location for you, it will give you directions for how to get there. For example: “Turn left toward the crosswalk at 125th Street.” Once the user gets within 10 meters (33 feet) of their destination, they’ll receive phone vibrations that let them know they’re close—and they’ll also hear an audio message similar to, “You are now entering 125th Street between 5th and Madison Avenues.”
6. Kindle – Book reader for blind and Visually Impaired
It is common knowledge that books can be expensive. An app called Kindle makes it possible for the visually impaired to get access to a wide variety of books for free. The Kindle app is available for download on iPhones, iPads, Android phones and tablets, and computers with Internet access. Once downloaded, users gain access to an extensive library of classic books and material in large print that can be read using a device’s text-to-speech functions.
Whenever you want to use the app, you must first connect to Wi-Fi or a cellular data network. You will also need an Amazon account. After you log into your account, you can start downloading books from four different sources: public domain titles, classics like Jane Eyre and Pride and Prejudice, Amazon’s own self-published titles, and popular titles like The Hunger Games series and the Harry Potter books. The Kindle app provides several ways for users to navigate their downloaded files. With the help of a large print option, users can read material if they have low vision or are legally blind. Blind people also have access to an advanced feature called VoiceView that reads everything aloud as the user scrolls through pages. Users also have access to other accessibility tools at every corner of the screen including buttons that increase or decrease font.
While the Amazon Kindle App is primarily designed for e-book reading on iPads, iPhones, Android devices and Kindle devices, it can also be used by people with visual impairments. The Kindle App provides a number of accessibility features that allow users to read without any trouble. The app allows users to use large print text and adjust font sizes as well as change colors and contrast in order to make books easier to read. It also allows for the use of a screen reader, which reads aloud everything on the screen in a human voice. In addition, Kindle offers reading tools that may help those with visual impairments navigate their bookshelves more easily.
7. Light Detector – Measure Luminosity in Lux & FC
While there are currently several devices on the market that measure luminosity, these devices are all bulky and expensive. A light detector is needed that is small in size, inexpensive for the average consumer, and can measure light in either lux or foot-candles.
The Light Detector is a device that lets the user measure luminosity levels in lux and footcandles. It has an LED display for showing status and results, and an input for a photoresistor sensor. The device can be used to monitor the luminosity of environments or to act as an alarm when light dips below a threshold. It can also be used by blind people to detect light levels in rooms.
8. Lookout by Google
Google’s Lookout app is a great example of how computer vision can be used to help people with low vision or blindness live more independently. The app uses your smartphone’s camera to identify the items in front of you and give you information about them, like the name of a product or how much money you have in your wallet. By doing so, the app helps you complete tasks more easily, like sorting mail and putting away groceries.
For example, if you point Lookout at a package of tortillas and tell it to “read this,” it will tell you what kind it is (corn tortillas) and provide nutritional information about it. If you point your phone at an envelope and ask it “what does this say?” it will respond with a description of what’s written on the front. If you have trouble keeping track of your money, Lookout can even read bills to tell you how much you have in your wallet. It works by taking photos of objects using the smartphone’s camera and then using a combination of optical character recognition technology and speech synthesis software to translate that image into useful text.
Lookout’s main function is as an assistant for helping a user carry out daily chores by identifying objects around them. For instance, if a user opens a cabinet or closet door and takes out something like a can of soup or a bag of flour, the app will identify it and provide information about the object in question. This allows users that are blind to be able to put away groceries into the appropriate cabinets without needing to read all the labels on each item. Beyond this, Lookout can also read mail, scan documents and even provide access to recipes using only images taken with your camera.
The incredible thing about Lookout is that it doesn’t use any special hardware: all its functionality is built right into your phone. All you need is a device running Android 4.0 or higher with a rear-facing camera; you can even try it out now on Google Glass!
9. Seeing AI – Talking Camera for the Blind
Seeing AI is a camera-based app that, with your permission, provides live audio descriptions of what it sees in the foreground.
It works like this: take a picture or video of something in front of you using your smartphone’s camera, then receive real-time audio description of what is seen. This may sound like a simple process, but the underlying technology that makes it possible is highly complex and innovative. Seeing AI relies on deep learning, neural networks, semantic segmentation, and many other machine learning tools to achieve its goal—to give blind and vision-impaired people the ability to interact with the world around them.
This technology has been covered by mainstream news outlets like Wired , NPR , Engadget , USA Today , TechCrunch , Huffington Post , Mashable , New York Times , Tech Insider , and more . With a full list of supported languages (24 as of May 2017) including English, Spanish, French, German, Japanese, Korean, Chinese (Mandarin), Italian, Dutch, Portuguese (Brazilian), Swedish, and Turkish—and growing—Seeing AI is quickly becoming one of the most accessible assistive technologies.
The app will recognize what is in view, allowing its user to get a sense of what’s in front of them. The user can also ask questions about objects in their field of vision and receive audio responses. For example, if they asked “What is this?” they would hear, “This is a brown book.” If they asked “Where is the light switch?” they would hear “The light switch is on the right side of the door.” They can also ask it to take pictures and record audio, which are sent to their contacts so they can be heard by others who have this app installed. There’s even a special mode called “Talking Tags” where users can create talking notes on objects and locations in 3D space that anyone else with this app can see as well. With Seeing AI, blind people will no longer have to rely solely on their other senses to perceive their surroundings and will have more control over how they orient themselves within their environment than ever before.
10. Supersense – AI for blind – Scan text, money and objects
Supersense is a new app that uses artificial intelligence to interpret the physical world for blind people. Supersense’s first product is a mobile app for iOS and Android that enables blind users to scan text, money and objects with their phone, and receive immediate verbal feedback. The app works by using a smartphone camera to capture light reflected off of an object, and then using advanced computer vision algorithms to interpret it.
After scanning an object, Supersense’s AI identifies the object’s shape, color, size and material. It then speaks this information out loud in real time, creating a digital representation of the physical world around the user. For example, when using the app on a dollar bill: “It has a rectangular shape…it is green in color…it is large…it has vertical lines.” Supersense’s AI can also identify whether an item is paper or plastic by reading its texture, enabling blind users to distinguish between bills or credit cards. Supersense has even developed its own proprietary character recognition software; its accuracy on standardised tests has been shown to be comparable to that of sighted humans.
Supersense is an artificial intelligence that can scan text, money, and objects. The app scans a product with a smartphone camera and reads the ingredients and nutritional information from the packaging. Supersense also has an augmented reality feature that enables the visually impaired to recognize whether objects are money or food.
The app functions by scanning an object with the smartphone camera for thirty seconds. Supersense identifies each object by its shape and texture, then uses a database to identify it as a specific product. A user can also manually add or subtract items from their database for future use.
Supersense’s features can help not only those who are visually impaired, but also those who have difficulty reading small text on packaging or who want to avoid allergens in their food.
In addition to being able to scan text and images, Supersense can also be used to scan 3D objects. Using this functionality you can create miniature renderings of objects in full color, allowing you to learn more about something by seeing it in great detail. You can even scan larger objects for a more detailed look at them than would be possible with your eyes or with a standard camera!
11. BeSpecular – Help the Blind
BeSpecular is a program that helps the visually impaired by allowing them to request help from sighted individuals in their community. Many blind people are not confident enough to ask for help, and this keeps them from accessing many valuable resources. It can be hard to find a sighted person to assist you with tasks like crossing the street, or navigating a new environment. BeSpecular allows anyone with an mobile device to request assistance from someone nearby who can help them fulfill their goal. You can easily request help by making a post on Facebook, or creating an account on our website at Bespecular.com
12. Sullivan+ – A visual-aid app based on AI
Sullivan+ is a visual-aid app based on artificial intelligence. It can take in a picture of virtually anything—an outdoor scene, a complex building, a close-up of a person’s face—and analyze every pixel in it to provide information about the image. Sullivan+ can determine the number and types of people in the picture, figure out where they are and what they’re doing, and even guess at their age, gender, and mood. The program can also point out details that a user might have overlooked, like other objects or people standing in the background or an unusual pocket of color.
Sullivan+ draws from technology that has been used for years in film production to help analyze images for digital effects. The developers have tweaked it for consumers by adding an interface that allows users to adjust many parameters to get just the information they want about each frame and then output customized reports on their findings. Sullivan+ is also capable of pointing out elements that may be invisible to human eyesight, such as fireflies in a night sky or reflections off glass windows.
The user begins by uploading a piece of data (a chart, graph, or image), which Sullivan+ then categorizes. The user can then “teach” Sullivan+ how to create the infographic by showing it multiple different examples of the kind of infographic they’re looking for. Sullivan+ will then take what it learned from this process and use it to produce something new, based on guidelines set by the user. By using Sullivan+ as a visual aid, the user can focus on other aspects of their work, such as communicating ideas and finding patterns in data.
13. RightHear – Blind Assistant For Blind & Visually Impaired
RightHear is a voice-based smart technology that helps the visually impaired and the blind to use their smart devices. RightHear can be used to interact with touch-less smart devices like Apple’s iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad or Android devices.
RightHear has been developed for:
• The Visually Impaired/Blind
• People with visual impairment having low vision but not totally blind.
• People who cannot use their hands but still want to use their smart phones.
• People who are visually impaired and have no access to screen readers.
RightHear can be used by various types of people and in various situations:
• For example, people with visual impairment (VI) but not totally blind can use RightHear because they still have some vision like light perception, people with severe dyslexia, people getting old with low vision, people who are temporarily blinded due to illness or accident etc.
RightHear provides audio feedback for every action of the user on the touch-less device so that the user knows where he/she is on the screen at any time and what kind of operation he/she is doing at a particular moment.