Top Essential Apps for People Who Are Blind or Have Low Vision

March 6, 2024

In the realm of assistive technology, several innovative apps have emerged as game-changers for people who are blind or have low vision, transforming daily challenges into opportunities for independence and exploration. Here's a highlight of top apps, including the cutting-edge Envision App, designed to enhance daily life through advanced OCR technology and more.

These apps not only aim to increase independence but also enhance the quality of life by providing solutions tailored to the needs of the blind and low vision community. The development and refinement of such apps rely heavily on feedback from users, underscoring the importance of community involvement in technological advancements.

Envision App

Envision stands out for its fast, reliable OCR capabilities, making it possible to read text in over 60 languages, including those with complex scripts like Arabic and Urdu. With the integration of ChatGPT-like AI assistant Ask Envision, it’s now possible to ask any question about any long or short texts. The app also offers detailed scene descriptions, it can also detect cash, colors, find objects, scan (A)QR codes and much more. Offering a seamless user experience, the award-winning Envision app is designed for the blind and low vision community and is available to download for free on the both the Play Store, App Store and Blindshell App Catalog. 

Rebokeh

ReBokeh is an innovative app designed specifically with sight loss in mind, allowing users to create custom video filters to enhance their vision according to their unique needs and environment. The app offers features to adjust contrast, exposure, color inversion, and more in real-time, making it easier for individuals with low vision to see the world in a way that suits them best. Users can save their preferences as presets for quick access, enhancing daily activities with personalized visual support​​​​.

Johns Hopkins University's Disability Health Research Center has partnered with ReBokeh to develop Low Vision Connect, a digital community platform aimed at reducing social isolation among individuals with low vision by enabling them to share experiences and build connections. This platform focuses on those with moderate to low vision impairment, offering a space for support and interaction​​.

Oko 

Reach you destination effortlessly with OKO is a smart(*) camera app that helps you explore your surroundings with real-time feedback. At an intersection, the pedestrian traffic light function gives you the state of the pedestrian light by playing with haptics and audio feedback, similar to a physical APS system. Anything visible through the camera is processed and never leaves your device, unless you decide to share your data with us to improve the application and remove false positive detections (**).

BlindSquare

BlindSquare is a mobile app designed to help users navigate their environment with greater ease and independence. The app was developed by MIPsoft, a Finnish technology company, in collaboration with several organizations for the visually impaired.

The app utilizes GPS and other location-based technologies to provide users with real-time information about their surroundings. It can identify points of interest, such as nearby shops, restaurants, and landmarks, and provide turn-by-turn directions to help users reach their desired destination.

In addition to its navigation features, BlindSquare also includes a feature called Foursquare integration, which provides users with reviews and recommendations for nearby businesses and points of interest. This feature allows users to make informed decisions about where to go and what to do based on the experiences of others.

Aira

Aira is a mobile app that provides users with on-demand access to a team of certified agents who use live video streaming and augmented reality to assist with everyday tasks. 

The app allows users to connect with certified agents, called Aira agents, who provide visual information and guidance for a variety of tasks. This includes navigating unfamiliar surroundings, reading labels, identifying objects, and even shopping online. The agents use live video streaming and augmented reality technology to see what the user sees and provide guidance in real-time. Envision Glasses users can make a hands-free call to their Aira agent via their smart glasses. Discover how the Envision Glasses can help you achieve greater independence by booking a free demo.

GoodMaps Explore

GoodMaps Explore is a mobile app designed to help individuals who are blind or have low vision to navigate indoor and outdoor environments with greater ease and independence. The app was developed by GoodMaps, a technology company that specializes in indoor navigation and wayfinding.

The app uses advanced mapping technology and location-based services to provide users with real-time information about their surroundings. It can identify points of interest, such as nearby buildings, shops, and restaurants, and provide turn-by-turn directions to help users reach their desired destination. Good Maps’ advanced mapping and indoor navigation capabilities, customizable features, and community aspect make it a valuable tool for anyone seeking greater independence and accessibility in their daily lives.

In embracing these technologies, we move closer to a world where visual barriers are diminished, and the possibilities for exploration and interaction are expanded. The continuous improvement of these apps, fuelled by user feedback and technological advancements, promises an even brighter future for assistive technology. 

For those interested in experiencing OCR technology hands-free or offline, the Envision Glasses offer an innovative solution, integrating the advanced features of the Envision App into a wearable format. This allows for greater mobility and independence, reinforcing Envision's commitment to creating accessible technology for people who are blind or have low vision.

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