Technology is a wonderful thing, particularly when it's used to advance
the lives of those who would otherwise never be able to enjoy it. Over the years, much has been done
to increase the joy in the lives of those who are visually impaired. Screen readers, Braille devices, and even apps have been designed to enable the blind to enjoy certain aspects of technology in much the same way as those with normal vision. Now, colleagues at UC Santa Cruz have come up with a new smartphone program that helps blind users take excellent photographs.
The program was built around solutions that were asked for in a survey of blind smartphone users; the students took the most-needed features and tried to construct an app that addressed all of them. What resulted was a program that gives aural cues to blind users when faces are detected and in focus, and a 30-second audio clip is captured with each shot. This enables blind users to listen in to what was being said surrounding each photo as they're shuffling through a gallery in an attempt to sort their images later on.
We're hoping that the app leaves the college campus and hits various app stores soon, but moreover, we hope this is just the start of a trend. Apps enabling better lives for the disabled? Now that's something anyone can get behind.