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Camera Tells The Visually Impaired Where To Focus

University of California PhD students develop a photo app that give audio clues to those who are not able to see.

Leah Gonzalez
Leah Gonzalez on May 13, 2013. @leahgonz

Dustin Adams, a PhD student from the University of California in Sta. Cruz, and his teammates have developed a camera app specifically for the visually impaired. The app provides audio instructions to a visually impaired person to help him/her focus the camera and take a good picture.

Adams and his team–who all work at the Interactive Systems for Individuals with Special Needs (ISIS) Lab–ran a survey among 54 respondents  between the ages of 18 and 78 and asked about the difficulties they encounter when taking photos with a camera. The respondents had varying degrees of visual impairment–some were completely blind, some were partially blind, and some had a degree of light perception.

The team used the results from the survey to build their camera app. The app uses facial recognition and voice accessibility to help the user focus the camera.The phone tells the user how many faces are detected and in focus.

The app does away with the shutter button to make it easy for the visually impaired. The user simply has to swipe upwards to take a photo.

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The app also triggers an audio recording function when it is turned on. The phone records audio for thirty seconds to help the users remember what was going on at that specific moment. The audio recording can be restarted by double tapping the screen.

Adams and his team will be presenting their project later this month at the Pervasive Technologies Related to Assistive Environments conference in Rhodes, Greece.

University of California

Images via isayx3, amirjina

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