Be My Eyes (iOS / Free until Sept 2015)
One of the most innovative apps to explode in popularity in recent weeks is Be My Eyes. Developed by a Danish company it is designed to help those who are blind or visually impaired by connecting them with sighted helpers. To do this the user would video-call a volunteer who would then be able to assist with their task. Examples of use could be navigating a new area or simply just reading a label at a supermarket.
The original idea for the app came from 50 year old designer Hans Jørgen Wiberg in collaboration with the Danish Blind Society who himself suffers from tunnel vision. It came about following a discussion with blind friends who used the iPhone feature Face Time to gain help from sighted people. However they also commented that they had to ensure their friends were free to give advice at the time. After securing a $300,000 grant the company was able to hire the technical talent required to make the app.
Over 100,000 volunteers have signed up through the app to provide their services for blind users. Recent press coverage across the globe has seen the app become one of the fastest growing of its kind. Currently only available on iPhones through the App Store there are plans to introduce an Android compatible version soon. Presently free there will be a subscription charge introduced later in the year when funding for the project runs out.
To download the app click here.
Below is the a video of the app in action!
RogerVoice (Expected March 2015)
Currently in Beta testing RogerVoice is an exciting app that has the potential to help many who are deaf or hard-of-hearing. The app transcribes phone-calls from voice to text in real-time meaning that previously those who could not make calls due to hearing problems would be able to read visually what the other caller is speaking.
The app was created by American Olivier Jeannel who himself is deaf and was frustrated that he was unable to take phone calls especially when working in the communications industry. Leaving his job to start RogerVoice he gained funding through Kickstarter achieving over 50% of his intended target in donations.
Interested users can sign up to be beta-testers at the app's homepage before the expected launch date of March this year. There are no present indicators which platform it will be available for but it would be safe to assume both iOS and Android versions would be supported.
Below is a video present by Olivier demonstrating the power of RogerVoice.
Talkitt (Expected first quarter of 2015)
A potentially life changing app for many people who have speech difficulties for an assortment of reasons is Talkitt which has the ability to convert unintelligible speech into clear audio. Currently in beta stage the app recognises each individual user's vocal patterns and is able to echo their words in a clearer fashion. People with conditions such as Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), Cerebral Palsy, Stroke, Brain Damage, Autism, Parkinson's Disease and more could benefit from the app's abilities.
One of the app's most impressive features is that due to its unique calibration system it has the ability to work with any language, even Klingon apparently! Combined with the capability to be used on most devices, from smartphones to computers, the app has wide universal appeal. Even those with very severe speech difficulties will be supported by the app.
Designed by Israeli based company Voiceitt the project was funded through startup site Indiegogogo where it impressively achieved over double their initial target. There is no firm release date at time of writing but it is expected to be within the first quarter of the year. The app will be a subscription based service which the company estimates will cost around $19.99 a month.
Below is a short video of how the power of the app can be harnessed.
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