A new app to help the visually impaired stay more connected and learn more about their surroundings has been developed.
Smart phones have allowed us to capture amazing moments, stay connected and share content at the click of a button. Many are now beginning to realise how much can be done to support smart phone users who have a disability, and Singapore’s local telecommunications company StarHub have developed a new app with TribalDDB to help those who are visually impaired.
MySmartEye is an app that allows the user to take a picture and have it described through the built-in voice-over feature on their smartphones. What makes the app special is that in order for the pictures to be described it requires a micro-volunteering/virtual-volunteering programme.
Once the user has taken their picture it is then automatically sent to a volunteer’s smartphone where the volunteer is prompted to describe the image. This means that the speed of the messages transmission back to the user depends on the volunteer’s response time. The user can check feedback on the image using motion and gesture prompts.
In order to use MySmartEye, micro-volunteers have to log in through their Facebook account so that credibility and responsibility for the comments is given. Also, comments and descriptions from micro-volunteers are kept authentic through the use of a rating system so that they are encouraged to give more descriptive and vivid details.
One MySmartEye user has said that the app allows him to feel more socially connected with the world as the app allows him to engage with real people rather than listen to automated responses from image-recognition technology-driven apps which he had previously used.
There are currently 200 micro-volunteers assisting on the platform and the app has been adopted by 3,000 clients from the Singapore Association of the Visually Handicapped and the Singapore Association for the Deaf.
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