We are surrounded by visual information, but it’s not always accessible. Two major categories of tools that put access to that visual information at your fingertips are SmartPhone apps (also available on tablets) and visual interpretation services.
Seeing AI is an artificial intelligence application that can identify text, objects, and colors for people who are blind or low vision. Seeing AI can also use facial recognition to help with identifying friends and family.
Find out more in the Bridges Resource Library Seeing AI entry.
KNFB Reader is a fee-based app that reads print information aloud to users who have print disabilities. The text can also be read using a Braille display.
Find out more in the Bridges Resource Library KNFB Reader entry.
When used in combination, these two apps allow you to take pictures of written information, scan it, perform optical character recognition (OCR), and read or listen to the resulting text. Note: You can read the text in either print or in braille using a refreshable braille device connected to your SmartPhone.
Find out more in the Bridges Resource Library Voice Dream Reader entry.
Find out more in the Bridges Resource Library Voice Dream Scanner entry.
Find out more about the Voice Dream suite of products
Voice Dream produces three apps that are all non-visually accessible: Voice Dream Reader, Voice Dream Scanner, and Voice Dream Writer. Check out the Bridges Resource Library’s Voice Dream entry for more details about this software.
Visual Interpretation Services
Smart Device and Connectivity Required
As a preliminary matter, please note that the tools discussed below use applications (apps) on smart devices, like smartphones, tablets, etc. Additionally, these apps provide real-time information, so they require Wi-Fi and/or data connectivity to function.
Aira is a service where you can call an agent in real time to assist you with tasks in which visual information might be helpful. Using the camera on your phone, the agent can provide you with information about your environment or answer visual questions for you at your request.
Find out more in the Bridges Resource Library AIRA entry.
Be My Eyes is a free, volunteer-staffed app that connects blind/low vision individuals seeking visual information with sighted volunteers through a free SmartPhone app that connects app users with volunteers from around the world.
Find out more in the Bridges Resource Library Be My Eyes entry.
Contact the Bridges Helpdesk for More Information
- Our Accessible web form
- Email: Helpdesk@imagemd.org
- Text: Send to: (410) 357-1546
- Voice mail: Call (410) 357-1546, leave a voice mail message, and we will return your call
This unique project is being coordinated through The IMAGE Center of Maryland, a center for independent living in Towson, and it is funded by a grant from the Maryland Department of Education Division of Special Education/Early Intervention Services.
Updated as of September 4, 2023.