One of my first posts on the IPAT Blog was called The Replacements, iOS apps that were alternatives to physical talking identifiers for people with visual impairment. Today I thought we’d talk about identifier apps on the Android side of the coin.
Talking Color Identifiers
Color Identifier from Greengar
Color Detector from Mobialia
Both of these apps work well with little difference in recognition. The app from Mobialia, however, does allow for some changes to settings such as simple/complex color names, white balance, and flash. No Internet connection is required.
That said, neither app performs, as well as, an actual color identifying device due to the fact the camera on the mobile device cannot eliminate ambient light as the stand-alone color detectors can. Therefore some colors, especially light colors, will change with the light available in the room and/or use of the flash. For example, in some cases, the color white came out pale blue, pale green or grey.
Talking UPC Code/Item Identifier
This app allows one to scan a UPC code/barcode and have the product’s name spoken aloud, as long as it is in the database. It does require one to download a free barcode scanner to accompany the talking app and have Internet access. From install to execution, this app was easy and worked well as shown in this video. However, the app does require one to capture the barcode within a small window, which could be problematic for some. They do suggest on their website to have someone sighted put a piece of clear tape over the barcode on products, which would make for easier location of the barcode for people who still have good feeling in their fingers.
It worthy to note that actual stand-alone Talking Barcode Readers, such as ones from EnVision America, have a very wide scanning path allowing for a person to just turn the product and have it scan with little effort. In addition, none require the Internet, as their databases are actually housed on the device.
It was also noted that when I downloaded the IDEAL Item Identifier, it simultaneously downloaded the Talking Barcode Maker. This app is supposed to allow you to create your own talking barcodes; however, it did not work for me on the two phones I tried, running Android 4.1.2 and 4.3. I noticed that this “app duo” has not been updated in almost 3 1/2 years, so this could be the issue or it does not like Samsung. I have contacted the vendor and will update when I hear back.
Talking Money Identifier
This app allows one to easily scan money and have it read aloud-no Internet Connection required. This app worked as demonstrated in the video. I found that users were able to use their full hand to flatten unruly, crumpled bills, and the app still had no issues with recognition. As with the MoneyReader for iOS, this app actually worked better than any stand-alone money reader I have ever tried.
In closing, I think all of these apps are worth trying. Although most have drawbacks compared to their stand-alone counterparts, only having to manage and charge one device and the cost (FREE) maybe worth the switch.