In the UK over 97% of people that are registered blind have a some degree of residual vision. At the moment the equipment usually provided is a magnifying solution that consists of a movable platter that the document is placed on, a video camera and monitor for reading paper documents and a separate screen reader for electronic documents. This equipment is expensive, non portable and offers limited assistance.
The AME Sight app has combined the abilities of both but significantly extends the functionality. When it is sold, it will be sold as a package consisting of the software, a choice of Android device and a custom designed collapsible stand that will make it possible for the user to capture a clear, still, focused image. This equipment will fit in a small laptop bag and can be taken and used by the owners at their place of work, school or in a social environment.
The app initially captures an image of the document which can be magnified. The first improvement over existing solutions is that guidelines are placed over the image so that going from one line of text to the next is much easier. Additional functionality not available in other products is that the document can be saved to be read later or sent by email.
The next thing that the app does that completely distinguishes it from existing solutions is that the image is processed with an OCR (optical character recognition) engine and converted to pure text. The user of the app can switch between viewing the original image or pure text. If viewing just text, the font size, text colour and background colour can be changed to suit the users level of impairment.
Finally the biggest improvement over existing solutions is that the text can be read to the user and the app can be controlled completely by spoken commands. This is unique functionality that is not available in any competing product and opens the app to users with more severe visual impairment than any existing product.
The app also includes a web browser which reads back the information to the user. The user will type in the website address and then simply tap on the information which the user wishes to hear.