No More Missing Money: New App Allows Blind People to ‘See’ Their Dollars

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Giving sight to the blind? There’s an app for that.

The burgeoning world of smartphone apps has a new member. No, not iFart, the extensive sound library of … (you guessed it!), or the “virtual pint” app that simulates the pouring (and drinking) of a pint of beer. This app is far more worthwhile. It lets blind people “see”.

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The LookTel App scans and recognizes objects such as money, packaged products, CDs, DVDs and even medication bottles. There is no time delay and no need to hold the object or the phone steady, the LookTel acts almost as well as a functioning human eye. Simply wave over your assembled bills and a very polite voice will tell you how much you’ve got – perfect!

The story goes that Ray Charles, the blind R&B legend, made sure he wasn’t cheated out of money at gigs by demanding he be paid in $1 bills. Thorough, but time (and space) consuming. Just imagine if he’d had the LookTel Money Reader – he would have needed a much smaller wallet.

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But you may have spotted a major stumbling block. How would a blind person be able to see the app icon in the first place? Never fear: The clever people at Apple are one step ahead of you, with VoiceOver, which translates information on the touch screen into audio, so your clever little phone tells you what to press and why.

At the moment the LookTel app, created by software company Ipplex, only works with American currency but looks set to be a hit all over the world. So soon, it could be scanning not just George Washington, but Queen Elizabeth II, Mahatma Gandhi and Ho Chi Minh. (Via GOOD)