Did I ever tell you I love my iPhone? I got the iPhone 3GS in December 2009 after John discovered that it is the most accessible phone for blind users. With Apple’s incredible VoiceOver feature that reads aloud practically everything on the iPhone (and other Apple products such as the Mac computers and iPads), I can virtually do everything a sighted person can do on their iPhone. For example, I can now send text messages, have text messages read aloud to me, check and reply to emails, find a certain podcast in my iPod app, check the weather, etc., because the VoiceOver function will orate everything to me.

In a recent post, I complained about the U.S. currency bringing an unfair disadvantage to the blind; the identical size of every denomination made it impossible for the vision-impaired to discern between different bills. Why, I said, could the U.S. not follow other countries’ examples and issue ddifferent sized bills?

Well, it seems that LookTel, a company that promotes independent living for the blind with their mobile object recognition and remote assistance solutions, has come up with a phone app that will solve the dilemma for blind users. Introducing the LookTel Money Reader. Featuring LookTel’s patented and proprietary object recognition technology, currency can be instantly recognized in real time using the mobile phone’s camera. The real time function aids in getting information at our fingertips quickly without having to capture the bill’s image by taking a photo and waiting to get data returned. Just by holding the currency and hovering the phone camera a few inches away from the currency’s surface with the Money Reader app open (and thus activated), a calm woman’s voice will, within seconds, tell you which denomination you’ve got in your hands. The app doesn’t require an internet connection so you can read your currency anywhere, any time, as long as you’ve got some cash and the app.

My friend, Jade, originally told me about this product but at the time, it was not yet available on iPhones. Then a few weeks ago, John told me it was on the iPhone, and you can bet I was on that like white on rice. I downloaded the app on my iPhone for $1.99 and tested it out. Indeed it is pretty savvy and could recognize $1, $2, $5, $10, $20, $50, and $100 bills in a matter of seconds. (Yes, I actually had a $2 bill in my possession from a Lunar New Year many years ago.) Now I no longer have to ask John which bill is which before folding it up into my wallet in different shapes. LookTel is in the midst of coming out with several apps for the visually impaired. Keep a look-out for future posts on their products. Thanks, LookTel, for making my life just a little bit simpler!

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2 Discussion to this post

  1. boyyakima says:

    i might have missed this somewhere, but i have a question… how can a blind person tell which app is which on the screen? does something announce the apps before u choose it? i was just curious as to how that worked!

  2. the Blind Cook says:

    BoyYakima: I've been meatning to dedicate an entire post to Apple's VoiceOver feature on their Macbooks and iPhones but haven't done so yet. Basically the application on the phone, for example, will read aloud what's on the screen, and the user swipes back and forth on the touch screen to move forward or backwards, and then taps twice (double-click) to choose that app. That's it in a nutshell. Stay tuned.

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