MONTREAL, March 30, 2020 /CNW/ - Mobile apps are one of the most popular yet no less impactful innovations of the past 2 decades. With the assistance of smartphones, travelers now navigate the world with a level of ease and efficacy that was previously unattainable, especially the blind and visually impaired.
According to the World Health Organization, nearly 30% (2.2 billion) of the world's population live with some level of blindness or visual impairment. To accommodate this subset of travelers, some companies have created assistive apps.
FlightHub and JustFly provide insight into 5 apps that help the blind and visually impaired travel more easily.
Be My Eyes
Be My Eyes is an iOS and Android app that connects its users with a community of over 500,000 unpaid sighted aids. By using device cameras and speakers, blind and visually impaired people can communicate with helpers who in turn provide assistance. For example, one of the app's users might ask, "I'm having trouble connecting my new sound system, can you help me?" The camera would then be aimed at the sound system. From there, a volunteer can guide the blind or visually impaired person until the setup is complete.
Blind Square syncs with the built-in GPS system of a user's iPhone. Once connected, audio information is then relayed in real-time. As the app runs in the background, the current location, upcoming intersections, addresses and important landmarks are mentioned. Blind Square's search function also allows the blind and visually impaired to find shops, restaurants and other establishments "near me". It's an essential travel tool.
Equipped with optical character recognition (OCR), the Kurzweil—National Federation for the Blind (KNFB) Reader is a powerful text recognition app. It features text-to-speech, text-to-Braille and text highlighting functions as well. It has won several technology awards for best assistive mobile application. Lastly, it can be used in multiple languages.
Look Tell Money Reader
As the name indicates, the Look Tell Money Reader does just that. With the help of this app, the blind and visually impaired can use their smart device cameras to read and determine the denomination of paper currency. An LED light function within the app helps users to effectively read money in low light settings as well.
Designed by the Microsoft team, Seeing AI is a powerful application that rivals the KNFB Reader app in terms of functionality. However, unlike its counterpart (currently priced at 139.99), Seeing AI is completely free. It reads bar code, snippets and larger portions of text and can identify friends and family from within photos. Descriptions of the user's immediate environment can also be provided through the app. New features that read currency, light levels, cursive and even colors have been added in recent updates.
Technology is changing the travel industry. The blind and visually impaired are one of many categories of travelers who stand to benefit. The above listed apps go the extra mile in terms of facilitating travel for those who sometimes need a little more assistance.
FlightHub makes travel accessible, allowing more than 5 million people per year to visit new places and explore different cultures by offering the cheapest flight on worldwide destinations. This is achieved by investing heavily in both technology and people, ultimately streamlining and optimizing the customer experience. Visit flighthub.com to book online or call an agent at 1-800-900-1431 for 24/7 service. For inspiration on travel destinations, tips on budget travel, and the latest travel news, follow FlightHub on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and LinkedIn.
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