apps

Curious about the iPhone Apps I Use?

an image of someone holding a phone with two icons of an eye with a no-entry sign over and another eye open in a circle icon

I’ve been asked to share a list of the apps I use on my iPhone. So here it is, divided into blindness-specific apps and those that you probably also use as a sighted person. I haven’t listed all the apps that come standard on an iPhone, only those that I’ve added to my phone.

But, be warned – it’s quite a long list!

Blindness-Specific Apps:

  • Aipoly Vision – though it has other functionality, I use this mostly for colour identification.
  • Be My Eyes – connects me to a sighted volunteer to interpret visual items.
  • Clew – indoor navigation app. 
  • iMove – GPS navigation app. Lazarillo – GPS navigation app. 
  • Seeing AI – image/text to speech converter; barcode reader, other functionality but these are the ones I use most. 
  • Voice Dream Reader – book and document reader of multiple formats. 
  • Voice Dream Scanner – image/text to voice converter 
  • Voice Dream Writer – document editor. Voice OCR – text to voice converter.

Other Apps:

  • Clever Clues – a word game. 
  • Currency – a currency converter. 
  • Downcast – my podcast player of choice. 
  • Dropbox Facebook 
  • Facebook Messenger
  • Internet Banking app. 
  • GoodReads 
  • Google Maps 
  • LinkedIn 
  • Load Shed CT – app to track scheduled power outages in Cape Town. 
  • Otter AI – a voice to text transcriber. 
  • SayHi – real-time language translator. 
  • Seven Little Words – a word game. 
  • Shazam Skype Speedtest – wi-fi speech checker. 
  • Spotify 
  • TripAdvisor 
  • Twitter 
  • Uber 
  • WhatsApp 
  • Woven Words – a word game. 
  • YouTube 
  • Yr – my weather app of choice. 
  • Zoom

Of course, I also use many of the in-built apps that come with an iPhone. Just because I haven’t listed them doesn’t mean they are not accessible for me to use – they are. At least, for the most part.

You may see that I often have more than one app that does the same or similar things. Mostly that is so I can double-check the information that is being generated by an app using AI. Because I prefer for different apps to give me the same information as a process of double verification. Just to be sure.

If you’d like to know more about how I use the various apps and how I’m able to access them on my iPhone, please drop me a mail or leave a comment

I also talk a lot about the way in which apps help me accomplish tasks in my book A Different Way of Seeing, which is being published on Amazon on 28 October.

Be My Eyes in the Workplace

JPG  Be My Eyes logo

Those of you following this series of articles about tools to help a blind person be independently productive in the workplace may be asking how we engage with paper documents and physical objects we need to operate.

The answer is quite simple – there’s an app for that! It’s called Be My Eyes, is free to download onto a mobile phone and is available on both IOS and Android phones.

Here’s how it works: I open the app on my smart phone and hit the “Call Next Available Volunteer” button. My data call gets picked up by one of the volunteers, who are able to use the phone camera so I can borrow their eyesight to identify objects, read printed material or a computer screen (or even handwriting). The volunteers can also help me find dropped objects or help me navigate around places.

Can you see how this would help someone who is blind in the workplace?

It can help me do anything from reading print material to using the coffee machine in the workplace. As a blind person, one of my greatest challenges is access to printed information. With an app like Be My Eyes that’s no longer such a problem.

With more than 2 million volunteers around the world, speaking more than 190 languages, and less than 200 000 visually impaired users so far, I’m sure you’ll realize I won’t be waiting long for my call to be picked up. The calls are free, and you can call as often as you need to.

Imagine how an app like Be My Eyes can empower someone who’s blind, not only in the home, but in the workplace as well.

You can find out more about Be My Eyes on their website: www.bemyeyes.com or on social media.

Of course, Be My Eyes is only one of the tools we ca use in the workplace to access information – next time I’ll be looking at some of the multitude of apps using artificial intelligence to help us access the information we need to be productive in a job.

Be My Eyes – A Helping Eye for the Blind

Bme logo rgb lightSo, here we are at blog 200 – if anyone had told me back in June 2015 that I would surpass the 200 blog point I’d probably have laughed at them. I kind of thought blogging was something I’d do every now and then when I had something important to share. And maybe that’s still true. It’s just that I seem to have a fairly constant supply of important things to share with you.

Like the subject of today’s blog – an app called Be My Eyes. Here’s the description of the app taken from their website: “Be My Eyes is a global community that connects people who are blind or have low vision with sighted volunteers. On the app, volunteers assist blind and low vision users through a live video connection and work together to tackle challenges and handle a wide range of tasks. The app harnesses the power of generosity , technology, and human connection to help blind and low vision people lead more independent lives. Be My Eyes is accessible in more than 150 countries worldwide and in over 180 languages. The app is free and available for both IOS and Android.”

You may be wondering how Be My Eyes benefits the lives of those with visual impairment. Well, here’s my response to that.

Even though it doesn’t happen often, there are times when having sight would simply make my life a little easier – finding something I’ve dropped on what suddenly feels like a huge expanse of open floor space, reading a document that isn’t in an accessible format, , or an actual print document. I’ve used Be My Eyes to find out what colour an item of clothing is – yes, sometimes I buy the same item in different colours because they’re just so comfortable. Or finding out the contents of a tin, without having to open it.

I agree totally with whomever it was who said that blindness is not about ability, it’s about access to information. And sometimes having a helping hand – or a helping eye – like Be My Eyes is what we need to access that information.

Here are some of my favourite things about Be My Eyes. Not only is the added access to information great, so is the range of languages spoken by the volunteers – including many of our Southern African languages. It’s quick and easy to get connected to a volunteer –there are about 15 times the number of volunteers as registered blind users. There’s no limit to the number or duration of data calls you make, though I’d think it’s only fair to tell the volunteer if you think it may be a long or complex task.

And here’s a personal story – a few weeks ago Be My Eyes was featured quite a lot on Facebook and several of my friends shared one of their videos on my wall. Another of my friends watched the video and signed up as a volunteer, though she told me she doubted she’d ever be called on to assist someone since there were so many volunteers already. Her first call came in a day or two later…

If you’re interested in finding out more about Be My Eyes, either to sign up as a visually impaired user, or as a volunteer, simply download the app from either of the app-stores find them on almost any social media platform, or take a look at their website – www.bemyeyes.com

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