Imagine being visually impaired or blind and unable to see what is surrounding you unless someone is with you to describe the scene. Well thanks to a new app available through the iTunes App Store, that is no longer the case. TapTapSee is a free app that helps the blind and visually impaired identify their surroundings. As long as VoiceOver is enabled on the device, using this app is simple! Point the camera of your iPhone or iPad in the direction of what you are curious about and double tap the screen to take a picture. That picture is then sent out to a server where it is processed (this takes approximately 10 seconds) and given a tag. That tag is then spoken back to the user through VoiceOver. If the user did not hear what was spoken there is a repeat button at the top of the screen that will repeat the tag. This app enables the camera of the device to be the eyes for someone who is visually impaired or blind.
TapTapSee also allows users to have photos from their Camera Roll sent to the server to be identified and the ability to share the photos taken. I tested this app on several items before writing this blog. The majority of the time the identifications were correct. I was impressed with how descriptive some of the identifications were. For example, when describing a pink water bottle the tag even described that it was half-full! I only expected to hear that it was a pink water bottle. Another example was when I took a picture of my brown sandal, expecting to hear that it was just that, a brown sandal. Instead TapTapSee described it as a woman’s brown sandal with gold beaded accents!
In my opinion this is a great piece of assistive technology that could be helpful to an individual who is blind or has a visual impairment. It can be useful when it comes to getting dressed, making food in the kitchen, shopping in a store, or even for identifying items in unfamiliar settings. If you want to check out this app for yourself you can download it for free here or stop into one of IPAT’s demonstration centers. To see an example of TapTapSee in action watch the video below.