App aims to improve accessibility for visually impaired
By Natasha Baker
TORONTO (Reuters) - 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 nonprofit 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.
"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," explained 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 Organization, and 285 million people are visually impaired. Continued...