A Whole New World: iOS Apps for People With Low Vision


What would you say to someone who claimed that a device virtually void of tactile features could guide a visually impaired individual safely around the city? Or hail a cab? Or count money? All of these things are now a reality with new iOS apps for the visually impaired. Individuals with low vision are exploring a newly expanded world thanks to technology that fits in the palm of their hands. Some of the most inventive and recent apps that are changing the world of the visually impaired are outlined below.

Ariadne GPS ($5.99) 

In a world where visual accessibility has come so far, where you can order contact lenses without a prescription and try on glasses online, it should not be surprising, perhaps, that the visually impaired can be helped with technology, as well. But when an app like Ariadne comes along, it’s hard not to be amazed. Ariadne uses Google Maps combined with vocal cues and vibrations to help those who are blind or visually impaired navigate city streets independently. It works in any city, and can even communicate in several different languages. This app is the all-in-one navigation guide for those who have trouble seeing.

LookTel Money Reader ($9.99)

Money-reading machines often cost around $150, so the fact that one can be purchased for under $10 and work right from the iPhone is an incredible benefit to the visually impaired. While coins have never been a problem to differentiate for those who cannot see well, since each has its own size and properties, cash is another issue. Fortunately, this app can use the photo lens to read a paper bill and announce its currency in clear, easy-to-understand language. This is helping the visually impaired to gain more independence, since they no longer need to have a sighted person alongside to help count money, or invest in a costly and cumbersome machine.

Color ID Free ($0.00)

This free app is extremely beneficial to those who cannot see color. For sighted people, matching clothing, knowing the color of a vegetable, being able to tell what the weather is like by looking at the sky, and other actions are just part of everyday life. But for those who cannot see well enough to detect color, all of those things are nearly impossible to determine. Fortunately, this app uses the iPhone’s photo lens to view and announce the color of an object.

Taxi Magic ($0.00)

This app is also free, and it is able to benefit not only the visually impaired, but anyone who needs to hail a cab. The app can dispatch a taxi, tell you the location of taxis around you, track your expenses, and even pay for your taxi using a credit card for a small service fee. This technology is particularly useful for the visually impaired, as it allows them to take advantage of transportation independently.

Voice Brief ($2.99)

This low-cost app has high-benefit features, and is absolutely essential for those who have trouble seeing. From the time to stocks to that text message you just received, Voice Brief can verbally articulate just about anything you want to know. Most individuals who have trouble seeing already have voice commands set up on their phone, so they can simply request that something be read, and the app will read it for them.

Technology is rapidly advancing. Where it used to take multiple devices to accomplish daily tasks, the visually impaired can now use a simple cell phone and a few inexpensive apps to explore their world independently and without cumbersome machines. This technology is only the beginning, though, and the future is bright for those who want to embrace life independently, regardless of their visual hindrances.

Guest article written by: Simon Walters is passionate about assistive technology. He excitedly blogs about innovative ways technology can help challenged and disabled persons.

Leave a Comment