Accessibility apps: connecting the world

Handheld mobile devices are evolving at breakneck speed.  They have become so much more than just a tool to facilitate Facebook and Angry Birds.  In addition to the millions of cool things our phones can do, some innovative app developers have set out on a mission to bring mobile computing to everyone.  Here are a few examples:

Proloquo2go (Assistiveware) – iPhone
This is a communication App designed for individuals who need assistance speaking.  Users can type phrases in, or use a series of picture options to construct phrases.  The app then vocalizes the selected phrase.  Numerous voices are available for a more individual experience.

DanKam (Dan Kaminsky Holdings, LLC) – Android, iPhone
DanKam is an augmented reality app (an app that uses your smartphone’s camera to enhance your surroundings) designed specifically for colorblind individuals.  This app uses “filters” to change the appearance of what is seen in the camera.  It can identify, enhance, and intensify colors all based on the user’s specifications.

Ariadne GPS (Giovanni Ciafonni) – iPhone
Visually impaired users can enhance their navigation by combining VoiceOver and Ariadne GPS.  With a few verbal commands, the user can explore a map, navigate, or get their current location.  Ariadne uses sounds and vibrations to indicate surroundings.  Users can even save favorite locations on the Ariadne map.

LookTel (IPPLEX) – iPhone
LookTel is an augmented reality app that reads the denomination of paper money for visually impaired users.  LookTel is designed to be used in tandem with VoiceOver.  In order to identify paper currency, the user simply points the camera at the bill and then LookTel says the amount out loud.  Currently LookTel supports 5 currencies, including the US Dollar, Canadian Dollar, and the Euro.


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