All about assistive technology
Here at Vision Loss Resources, our clients want to learn how tech can make the world more accessible through magnification, audio description and more. It’s a fast-growing field. Questions? Email firstname.lastname@example.org for troubleshooting and to learn about our tech classes and one-on-one tech training.
Here are a few of the most popular devices and apps:
IrisVision is a virtual reality headset with an attached smartphone. The wearer can use the smartphone’s camera to zoom in on faces, printed materials, etc. It costs about $3,000; free trials are available. Other magnifying headsets/glasses include NuEyes and ESight, $2,000 and $10,000 respectively. Insurance does not cover these devices, though some organizations such as the VA can help subsidize their cost.
Another headset provides audio description. OrCam is a small camera mounted on eyeglasses and connected to an earpiece. The camera recognizes faces, reads text and describes objects. Prices range from $2,500 for a basic model to $3,500 for a more advanced model. Vision Loss Resources has hosted demonstration workshops with an OrCam sales representative.
Aira is an app-based audio service that provides real-time visual interpretation and navigation assistance. The user wears smart glasses or holds up their smartphone to show their surroundings to a trained, sighted Aira agent who will describe visual information and may use GPS to help the user navigate a space. Aira is free for calls lasting up to 5 minutes; a longer call requires a subscription. Some airports offer free Aira coverage.
Be My Eyes is a free app that is kind of like an informal, user-generated Aira. The user shares a live one-way video stream with a sighted volunteer who can help with a visual task such as reading labels or navigating the buttons on an appliance or remote control. When working with sensitive information or personal documents, some of our clients prefer to use Aira, not Be My Eyes, because Aira can ensure confidentiality.
TapTapSee is a free image recognition app. The user takes a photo of an object, and the app talks back to identify or describe the object.