In August I wrote a blog about Seeing AI (https://ndassistive.org/seeing-ai-eye-like-it/) which is an iOS application designed primarily for those who are blind or visually impaired. This FREE app uses the camera on an iPhone or iPad to describe the world.
Here is the update. In addition to reading short text immediately, scanning and dictating a long document, scanning barcodes and describing a scene or person, now the app has added other channels which will be described below. Not only have they added channels, the app is now available in 35 countries.
There is a new Currency Channel which will identify currency bills in U.S. dollars, Euros, Canadian dollars, and British pounds. This is an experimental channel currently so be advised to check it out before completely relying on it.
There is a Color Channel. This channel will indicate what color an object is when you have the camera pointed at it. I can see this as an asset when trying to decide on a shirt to wear in the morning or during shopping. I think it still has some bugs in it, but they’ll keep working on it.
There is a Light Channel. This channel is used to detect the amount of light around you. The pitch of the tone is based on how much light your iPhone or iPad sees. The more light there is, the higher the pitch.
There is a Handwriting Channel. This channel allows you to take a photo of handwritten text and reads it aloud. I used it on a piece of my handwriting, and it did a pretty good job with about 80% accuracy. It reads the text quite fast without breaks between lines which can be confusing when it reads a list. You are able to slow down the voice speed and change voices in Seeing AI in the settings which helps. There are also several options for voices.
There is more information about the new channels at https://blogs.msdn.microsoft.com/accessibility/2017/12/13/seeing-ai-new-features/ .
All these new channels are experimental but I would suggest downloading the app, playing with it, and providing feedback to Microsoft on suggested improvements.
If you have feedback or questions, you can email email@example.com or contact the Disability Answer Desk. The Disability Answer Desk is there to assist via phone and chat, and in the United States, they also have an ASL option for customers with hearing loss (+1 503-427-1234).
For more information on AT devices and services please connect with Assistive at www.ndassistive.org or call 800-895-4728 to schedule an appointment with an AT consultant.