Top 5 accessible technologies for blind & low vision people in 2018
From a wearable glove that makes the world accessible to an app that makes stargazing a possibility, 2018 was a year that saw a range of technologies that promised independence, freedom and fun to blind and low vision people.
Here are some that made it to our list.
- Top of the list is Manovue glove, the world’s first intelligent personal assistant for blind people. Developed by Indian start up Eyeluminati, Manovue also takes away the need for Braille to decipher a printed text and uses artificial intelligence to help visually impaired people read. Developed by innovator Roopam Sharma, Manovue was honoured with the 2018 World Health Summit Startup Track. .
The jury had some high praise indeed and called Manovue a “solution that makes social participation possible for people with visual impairments, and enables them to lead an independent life”.
- BarrierBreak’s 6 by 6 app could not have been more timely given the struggles blind people in India face deciphering the new currency notes issued after demonetisation. Available for free on Android, 6 by 6 has three amazing tools, Currency Detector, Light Detector and Magnifier.
- The XL Cinema app has transformed the lives of blind moviegoers by enabling them to enjoy films like never before. Developed by Brajma Intelligent Systems Private Ltd, the app gives detailed audio descriptions of what is going on between dialogues.
- This was the year when social media acknowledged the needs of visually impaired people in a big way. First, it was Pinterest that launched Spoken feedback, Clear focus indicators and Higher colour contrast. As 2018 drew to a close, Instagram stepped in as well, with two new features. One, was the introduction of automatic alternative text which uses object recognition technology, enabling users to hear the descriptions of photos with the help of screen reader. The other was a custom alternative text for a better description of photos that need to be uploaded. All of which got a big thumbs up.
“This will be next big thing in social networking sites and more blind people are now going to join Instagram and become a part of it”, said Tony Kurian, a blind student at the Indian Institute of Technology, Mumbai (IIT-M).
- And last, but certainly not the least, the Astreos app has brought the stars close to blind and low vision people. Developed by two young engineers in Australia, the app follows American space agency NASA‘s horizon system and tracks thousands of constellations in the sky. Using sound and tactile dimensions and 3D audio environment, the app gives users a feeling of where all of these are located.
Among those who is excited about the app is Mumbai-based visually impaired lawyer, Amar Jain. “It would be even more interesting for young blind kids who are interested in astrophysics and space. They can get a better insight about how our outer space is. Usually when people talks about the weather being cloudy or some planet being evident from Earth, blind people cannot experience it. Sounds like, this new app can help!”
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Our innovation team is actively involved in designing new ways to find solutions to the various challenges that people with disabilities are facing and are now focusing on AI (Artificial Intelligence) and ML (Machine Learning) to improve the lives of people with disabilities. 6 by 6 app aims to make life easier and independent for people with visual impairment. – Shilpi Kapoor, Founder, BarrierBreak