Augmented Reality smartphone application helps visually impaired, elderly to see

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Two mobile solutions companies, Ipplex and LinkMe Mobile, have partnered to create mobile applications for elderly and vision-impaired consumers.

The companies unveiled their first augmented reality application, LookTel, at the CTIA Wireless conference in Las Vegas.

"LookTel allows users to instantly interact with their world through their mobile phone - recognizing everyday objects such as text, money, packaged goods, CDs or medication bottles, even signs and landmarks," explained Ipplex in a March 24 press release.

"The app combines precision image recognition technology with text reader capabilities using full featured Optical Character Recognition (OCR). By simply pointing the mobile device at what the user wishes to 'see,' LookTel pronounces the name of the object or reads text in clear and easy to understand speech."

The application also provides additional support to the vision-impaired by way of live video, audio chat, push-to-talk audio, and GPS-tracking data.

Their groundbreaking application was selected as a finalist in the CTIA Wireless Emerging Technology Awards Healthcare/Public Safety/Transportation Category in 2010.

Augmented reality-like technology has previously been used to help vision-impaired and blind people see with their ears. Almost 10 years ago, a senior scientist at Philips Research Laboratories in the Netherlands developed a "seeing" system called The vOICe.

The vision technology offered totally blind users a sonic representation of visual sensations by way of image-to-sound renderings. The technology is now available as an Android application from the Seeing With Sound website, http://www.seeingwithsound.com/.

A video of the LookTel technology in action can be viewed here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lf-0Dj95SgY&feature=player_embedded

More information about LookTel can be found on the LookTel website, located at: http://www.looktel.com

 

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