Android app helps the visually impaired

2012-07-23 12:51
An application that could potentially assist the visually impaired with navigating public transport has been launched. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

An application that could potentially assist the visually impaired with navigating public transport has been launched. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Toronto - Whether it is getting off a bus or reading a menu, a new app aims to make life easier for the blind or visually impaired.

Called Georgie, the app for Android devices enables people with little or no sight to accomplish daily activities that could be difficult for them.

"The great thing that attracted me to [creating the app] was this notion of gaining confidence, and also having reassurance that you could press a button and get help if you were lost," said Roger Wilson-Hinds, co-founder of Screenreader, a non-profit based in Peterborough, England, that developed the app.

Users navigate the app's features by passing their fingers over various options which are read aloud. Lingering on a particular option produces a beep, indicating that the option has been selected.

The app can make calls or send texts but it also provides location-based technologies, which can let users know, for example, when the next bus is coming, which direction they're facing, or the ability to set location-based reminders.

Added assistance

"You can actually record a GPS-tagged voice label to say 'dangerous steps' and as you're approaching it the phone will tell you that there are dangerous steps there," said Alan Dean Kemp, the chief technology officer.

Kemp added that the app is not meant to replace a seeing-eye dog, but to provide added assistance.

About 39 million people worldwide are blind, according to the World Health Organisation, and 285 million people are visually impaired.

For Wilson-Hinds, who is blind, one of his biggest struggles has been using public transit.

"I used to struggle to know when to get off the bus every evening when I was coming home from work," he said, adding that the app can give users information on upcoming bus stops while they're travelling.

It also reads out text, such as ingredients on a label, using a technology called optical character recognition (OCR).

Wilson-Hinds said what makes the app unique is the way it is designed for the less tech-savvy person and the support it provides.

"We've brought them all together into a little bundle so that you're not switching in and out of apps," he said.

Screenreader is also selling Georgie smartphones, Android-based Samsung phones that come pre-installed with the Georgie app.

"The settings are such that you turn on the phone and the app starts. You can't get out of it unless you go through a sort of unlock feature to do so," explained Kemp.

At £150 ($230), the app is more expensive than most apps but Kemp said the price includes support for the app.

"You get a help line, which will set up your contacts for you if you want and even come and train you, so there's a big support mechanism around it," he said.

The app is available worldwide in English. All profits generated by the app go to a charity called Communication for Blind and Disabled People, of which Screenreader is a subsidiary.
Read more on:    mobile
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
1 comment
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/News
 

Joburg hot spots for cocktails, craft beer, tapas and wine!

It’s the season to be jolly – so we’ve rounded up some new Joburg hot spots!

 
 

I love summer.24

Summer Survey!
Great ideas for the best summer sandwiches!
Christmas lingerie to make this festive season the best one ever!
13 things you might not know about Disneyland

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

2DAYS ONLY – 30% off Appliances

Coffee makers, blenders, fans, juicers and more. T&Cs apply. Shop now!

2 DAYS ONLY – 40% off books

Get 40% off when you buy 2 books. For two days only! T&Cs apply. Buy now!

Up to 50% off on outdoor gear

Save on chairs, blankets, cooler bags, umbrellas and more. Shop now!

Save on Samsung

Cameras, mobile phones, TVs, Tablets and more. While stocks last. Shop now!

Grand Theft Auto 5

Now available on PS4, Xbox One and PC from R649. Buy now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

The energy today is serious, materialistic and hardworking. You may find you get a new outlook on things and you may want to spend...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.