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App Helps Blind Photographers Take the Perfect Snap

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A visually impaired person using a smartphone camera app.

For visually impaired users, most smartphone camera apps leave something to be desired.

Credit: Victor Jori/Getty

University of California, Santa Cruz researchers are developing a smartphone application that helps visually impaired users take pictures.

The researchers polled 54 people with varying degrees of vision impairment to determine what they find most challenging about taking photos.

The researchers found that many smartphones already offer face detection, but other more useful features are needed to make a camera app suitable for the visually impaired. For example, instead of a shutter button, which can be difficult to locate, the new app snaps a picture in response to a simple upward swipe gesture.

In addition, the app merges face detection and the voice accessibility features so that the phone speaks out loud the number of faces detected, helping the user get all the subjects in the shot.

When the app’s camera mode is activated, the phone begins recording a 30-second audio file, which can be saved with the time and date. The app also translates global positioning system data into audio that provides the name of the area where the shot was taken.

From New Scientist
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Abstracts Copyright © 2013 Information Inc., Bethesda, Maryland, USA


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