ICTs designed to help the visually impaired

We have recently come across a few launches of apps and gadgets that were developed to assist and potentially increase the wellbeing of persons who are visually impaired, here are some of them:

SwiftKey Symbols

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This is an assistive communication app that uses hand-drawn symbols to enhance communication among Android users. The idea of using images itself is not a complete novelty, but Swiftkey claims its prediction and personalization features will render it more efficient and quicker to use, and it also offers an audio playback option. It is the next step on the work the SwiftKey team has done so far to improve communications for people with mobility issues, stemming from collaborations with start-ups like Click2Speak and with important names such as Professor Stephen Hawking.  They are also looking for feedback and if you are a user, here’s the link to share your thoughts.

Sunu Band

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The Sunu Band is another addition to wearable technologies designed to assist the mobility of the visually impaired. By using ultrasonic technology, the band is capable of identifying how close objects are and sends signals through vibration to improve a persons’ day-to-day navigation. Sunu band is currently in a crowdfunding phase, for the time being they are almost at half their financing target. Another interesting feature of their campaign is that, for every $99 they raise, a child in a developing country will receive a Sunu Band for free.

Protection and Ease Company

So far we have talked about accessible apps and gadgets but why not include entrepreneurship in the discussion? Cao Jun, a blind Chinese entrepreneur, created a company to develop apps and software to assist the visually impaired by transforming content into audio instructions. So far, over 400 thousand users have benefited from Cao’s company.

 

We have searched for other apps out there designed to assist visually impaired people and here are three lists that are worth checking: one from AppAdvice, another from Appcessible and lastly one from Applevis.

Additional Sources: The Verge, Google Play, SwiftKey, Yahoo News, GAATES, Xinhua (China News)