Have you ever been out and about on your own only to find you need to read a sign or a note, or locate an object? If you carry a smartphone, you can get immediate help without waiting for someone to walk by. There are three mobile apps that connect you with live sighted volunteers who can identify your surroundings, read labels, or help with other tasks. And all three are free.
Visual Access provides access to on-demand, real-time visual agents. Simply call a Visual Agent from the app to start a live video or audio session and receive help identifying your surroundings, reading mail, checking food labels, or any other task you might need sighted help with.
Be My Eyes connects blind and visually impaired individuals to sighted helpers who can provide assistance for a variety of tasks, such as finding lost items, describing pictures, paintings or other artwork, matching or explaining colors, reading labels on household products, etc. from all over the world through a live video call. A user logs onto the app and the main screen displays a button that allows the user to call a sighted volunteer and establish a video connection using the phone’s camera and microphone. The sighted helper will explain the things that a user points at the camera. Volunteers are called at random, and the technology matches are based on language and time zone. Most calls are answered within 60 seconds.
To use VizWiz, take a picture of any object and record your question. Then select whom you wish to send it to. Your choices are Web Worker, IQ Engine, email or Twitter. Web worker is a human volunteer who will review and answer your question.
You can download any of these apps from your Apple App Store or iTunes. Be My Eyes and Viz Wiz are also available through Android.