There are plenty of devices and technology that could be at our service, to assist us to access information, gain knowledge and entertainment. We listed a few popular, useful ones here to showcase how technology and devices have made the world accessible to the blind and the visually impaired. We introduced three categories: Screen readers, apps, and devices. For each one, we listed a short description, followed by some videos and a link to the product homepage.
NVDA (NonVisual Desktop Access)
NVDA is a FREE, fully-featured screen reader, providing access to the web, e-mail, word processing, chat, entertainment and more for Microsoft Windows. In 2019, NVDA became the most popular screen-reader in use throughout the world and have been translated into 50 languages.
- TEDx talk from 2013, listening to the creators of NVDA, who are blind: https://youtu.be/uPo30QUVGjg
- What is NVDA: https://youtu.be/tCFyyqy9mqo
- How to navigate a page: https://youtu.be/Jao3s_CwdRU
Product Website: https://www.nvaccess.org/
JAWS (Job Access with Speech)
JAWS is a computer screen reader program for Microsoft Windows that allows blind and visually impaired users to read the screen either with a text-to-speech output or by a refreshable Braille display.
- How to navigate websites with JAWS: https://youtu.be/3MUEyYoKwx0
- Demo of most commonly used functionalities: https://youtu.be/dffx6mvHR9E
Product Website: https://www.freedomscientific.com/products/software/jaws/
VoiceOver is a screen reader built into Apple Inc.’s products such as the iPhone or Apple computers.
- Introduction to VoiceOver: https://youtu.be/bCHpdjvxBws
- Demo by a user: https://youtu.be/OUGOGepwsHE
- Beginners tutorial for VoiceOver gestures: https://youtu.be/tHv4R8S3OIg
Product Website: https://www.apple.com/accessibility/mac/vision/
Be My Eyes
Be My Eyes is a free app that connects blind and low-vision people with sighted volunteers and company representatives for visual assistance through a live video call.
- Introduction to Be My Eyes- https://vimeo.com/113872517
- Demo and review – https://youtu.be/eo2P9guQtz4
Product Website: https://www.bemyeyes.com/
Seeing AI is an artificial intelligence app developed by Microsoft for iPhone. Seeing AI uses the device camera to identify people and objects, and then the app audibly describes those objects for people with visual impairment.
- What is Seeing AI: https://youtu.be/bqeQByqf_f8
- How seeing AI can improve people’s lives: https://youtu.be/R2mC-NUAmMk
Product Website: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/ai/seeing-ai
Google Lookout is an app created by Google that uses AI to identify objects and read text through the camera on a user’s phone.
KNFB Reader is an award-winning mobile app for blind, low-vision, dyslexic, and other print-disabled users that converts text to speech or text to Braille. It is currently available for iOS, Android, and Windows 10 devices.
- Introduction, https://youtu.be/23tLdyuYN7k
Product Website: https://knfbreader.com/
Voice Guidance for Google Maps
Voice Guidance for Google Maps is a feature designed to help people with visual impairments get around. The feature provides detailed voice guidance to those who need it, helping them get from A to B on foot.
- Demo with Google Guidance in Japanese – https://youtu.be/7PEbPYy56XI
Aira is monthly subscription service for blind and visually impaired people. Using a pair of smart glasses or a phone camera, the system allows an Aira agent to see what the blind person sees in real-time, and then talk them through whatever situation they’re in.
- Introduction by the company: https://vimeo.com/241603388
Product Website: https://aira.io/
BlindSquare is an accessible GPS-app developed for the blind and visually impaired. Paired with third-party navigation apps, BlindSquare’s self-voicing app delivers detailed points of interest and intersections for safe, reliable travel both outside and inside.
- Introduction – https://youtu.be/ITw1Gs6tHLg
Product Website: https://www.blindsquare.com/
Nearby Explorer is a powerful location exploration app for use on Android™ and iOS devices. Nearby Explorer uses GPS and your phone’s compass to speak real-time information about your surroundings.
- Introduction – https://youtu.be/Vlc0Pjv4Qro
OrCam MyEye is an assistive AI wearable device for the blind and visually impaired, recently named one of the top 100 inventions of 2019 by TIME Magazine. It instantly reads text, recognizes faces, identifies products and more.
- Steve Harvey TV episode about OrCam: https://youtu.be/Khjes55OQKM
- Dr. Phil TV episode about OrCam: https://youtu.be/gaIPnVIW9lc
- What OrCam can do: https://youtu.be/uvIXWKyBv0w
Product Website: https://www.orcam.com/en/myeye2/
Victor Reader Trek
The Victor Reader Trek combines the world-renowned simple book reading and media playback experience of the Victor Reader Stream with the navigation guidance technology found in the Trekker Breeze.
MagniLink Zip Portable CCTV
MagniLink Zip is an award winning, near and distant portable desktop video magnifier that’s easy to use, light in weight, and small in size.
- Introduction – https://youtu.be/Bv7DMbVAHNA
Product Website: https://lviamerica.com/catalog/products/magnilink-zip-hd-13
Cyber Eyez is an application for smart glasses that enables users with low vision and blindness to be more independent. By using a high definition camera and an optical character recognition engine, Cyber Eyez provides highly accurate text recognition. Wearers can have any text read to them in real time with no internet connection while still maintaining privacy.
- Introduction – https://youtu.be/FQTxPpDEbU0
Product Website: https://www.cybertimez.com/
Sunu Band is a smart-band that guides your way around obstacles. It uses sonar or echolocation to detect objects up to 16 feet or 5.5 meters away. This smart-band augments your personal awareness, and reduces accidents to the body, chest, arms and head.
Product Website: https://www.sunu.com/