Apple iPhone “LookTel” Voice Control: Visually Impaired Benefit

When out shopping, the majority of us do not even have to give it a second thought when it comes to paying for an item. We take out the coins or notes and pay the retailer, but how do visually impaired people get around this? On reading news today from ubergizmo, it seems this very thought has crossed the mind of a team “LookTel” based in LA.

A new app for the iPhone called “Money Reader” priced at $1.99 from the App Store, has been developed to deal with this very problem. At the start of this year during the CES event in Las Vegas, legendary music artist Stevie Wonder spoke about this predicament that some people are left with when paying for their goods. He aired his concerns and asked companies in his quest, to design something that could be used for a great majority of people.

Apple’s iPhone was the obvious choice and to help, the company added a VoiceOver feature. Although this in itself has proved to be beneficial, today’s Money Reader app can be used for American currency, that of notes. Using the handset’s camera, it scans the note even if its folded or creased, and uses voice recognition to tell the user what it is. As BGR stated, the scanning process takes less than a second and even in conditions where lighting is somewhat “poor” the camera will still be able to recognise the notes by activating the device’s flash and leaving the paper currency to shine up.

In terms of what currency the app will recognise, it can see $1 up to $100 dollar bills, but coins at this present time are a “no go” unfortunately. Interestingly enough, when LookTel were asked whether it had any plans to implement Money Reader with other Foreign currencies, they said, “We’ve already had an influx of users asking for it, and explaining that even though foreign currency is technically accessible, it is still challenging to identify and that foreign users want LookTel Money Reader.”

The new app is available now and works only on Apple devices with cameras such as the iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4 and the fourth-gen iPod Touch.

What are your thoughts on this brilliant new idea? Can it be classed as a proper aid? Let us know.