A dog can be a faithful companion for the blind as well as a good assistant to warn them of dangers. However, it can only bark and cannot help the blind to identify the objects around them. Application like LookTel perhaps is an ideal solution that will fill this gap. It is not only useful in emergencies but acts like an artificial eye for the visually impaired.
LookTel is a mobile application which runs on compatible Windows Mobile Smartphones and allows the blind or visually impaired to recognize and identify objects instantly with the cell phone’s camera. Users can record and capture the images via the phone’s camera. The software application will thence transmit the live images from the cell phone to a PC running LookTel BaseStation, a sophisticated recognition software. When the PC receives a request to look up an image, it sorts through the image library to find the matching image stored in the database. It then sends back the information that permits the Smartphone to verbalize the description of the item to the user.
Other than that, the blind can also get remote sighted assistance from third party via the cell phone camera and the LookTel application. A third party can offer remote assistance by looking at the live video recorded from the cell phone camera and give relevant assistance to the blind such as telling them the surrounding conditions, give them orientation, reading street signage, etc. LookTel incorporates a text reader allowing users to get access to print media. Users can do reading to print media with the help of this application.
The beta version of LookTel application will be released in early Spring of 2010. This interesting application opens up a whole new world for the blind and empowers them to ‘see’ the world around them.