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Iphone App Uses Crowd Sourcing to Help the Blind

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iPhone app for visually impaired people

Researchers working together on a joint project to merge existing technology with a real-world crowdsourcing application has led to VizWiz, an iPhone and Mechanical Turk application for visually impaired people.

Researchers from several universities have collaborated on a crowdsourcing project involving iPhone technology and's Mechanical Turk's Web site to develop VizWiz, a system that enables a blind user to take photos of an object, ask a question about something in the picture, and receive an answer in seconds.

VizWiz utilizes a crowd of waiting workers who look at the image, listen to the question, and respond by recording an answer and sending it back to the original user.

The project, led by the University of Rochester's Jeffrey Bigham, developed an iPhone application that uses the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Turkit toolkit to contact Mechanical Turk workers as soon as the app is launched, reducing the time a user must wait for an answer.

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