How Folks Who are Blind Avoid Eating Moldy Cheese!

I am constantly amazed at the creativity of apps developed to assist people who are blind. One of my favorites is VizWiz.

Vizwiz allows you to take a picture and then record a question about what is in the picture. You can choose where your question is sent –machines or humans, and, promptly, you get an answer. As a person who is blind I am forever asking people around me to read or identify things. Here are some sample questions folks have gotten answered via this accessible and helpful app:

A photograph of someone holding questionable cheese.
Is this cheese moldy?

“What color/pattern is this t-shirt?”

“What TV dinner is this and how do I cook it?”

“Is this my can of coconut milk?” It’s been hiding in my pantry causing me to eat soup and beans that I opened by mistake!

And my favorite “Is this cheese moldy?”

I even used it yesterday to complete a visual CAPCHA by taking a photo of my screen!

From the VizWiz app site: “VizWiz lets blind users recruit remote sighted workers to help them with visual problems in nearly real-time. Users take a picture with their phone, speak a question, and then receive multiple spoken answers.”  You can download VizWiz form the Apple App Store here.  Vizwiz is only for iOS devices.


Pat Pound is a disability consultant from Austin, Texas who has used technology for many years, starting a training unit for people who are blind in the ’80?s.  She worked for the State of Texas for many years and shaped disability policy including information accessibility.  She is now “retired” but that just means she only does work she likes!  She is a weaver, game enthusiast, and has trained teachers of visually impaired kids regarding use of IOS devices.  “My own blindness has lead me down many interesting paths and it’s such fun now to see how technology can improve our lives!”

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