Wednesday, August 5, 2020

MAT Program: Apps of Interest

MAT Program: Apps of Interest

Contributed by Joseph Beckett, Program Coordinator for MAT

MAT Program boiler plate: girl looking at camera; text states MAT provides accessible college textbooks to Maryland students

In the not too distant past, individuals with disabilities were limited to few assistive and mainstream technological offerings. Although guide dogs, canes, human assistants, large print, braille, and alerting indicators were commonplace, there would be a gap in time before advanced accessible technology for the visually impaired offered a full quality of life. In time the absence of advanced assistive and mainstream technology would greatly reverse, spearheaded in part by the advent of the smartphone. This device; portable, user-friendly, and chock full unimaginable capabilities, opened, through applications, a plethora of possibilities in the areas of communication, translation, and information. Presently Apple, Google, Microsoft, Amazon, and others, are producing striking and awe-inspiring technology that has tremendously changed the playing field, but even greater contributions to the (mobile) application realm are being made by smaller companies. Below are several mobile application suggestions.

*Although these apps were carefully reviewed, there is no guarantee that they are still in operation.


StorySign by Huawei

StorySign helps to open the world of books to deaf children. It translates children’s books into sign language, to help deaf children learn how to read.

App Website           


Ballyland Magic by Sonokids Australia

The Ballyland Magic app is an educational and fun iPad game specifically designed for children who are blind or have low vision, to learn and practice a number of touch gestures for VoiceOver, Apple’s built-in screen reader.

App Website:


Ballyland Code 1: Say Hello by Sonokids Australia

Get started on your programming journey today! Children who are blind or have low vision can in this fun app learn basic coding concepts and skills that will be applicable to any programming language. Get introduced by way of the Tutorial game ‘Play with Coding’. Then take on your first Coding Challenge with simple coding commands.

App Website:


Android Accessibility Suite by Google

Android Accessibility Suite is a collection of accessibility services that help you use your Android device eyes-free or with a switch device.


Lookout by Google

Lookout uses computer vision to assist people who are blind or have low vision in gaining information about the world around them.

Lookout uses the camera and sensors on your device to recognize objects and text and gives you spoken feedback, earcons, and other signals to inform you about what it sees.


Capti Voice by Charmtech Labs LLC

Listen to documents, news, books, etc. Capti will improve your productivity and make your reading more enjoyable. A great tool for students, language learners, commuters, busy professionals, retirees, people with dyslexia or other learning disabilities, and many more. Capti is your literacy and reading support tool.

App Website:


TextGrabber – Real-Time OCR by ABBYY

ABBYY TextGrabber easily and quickly digitizes fragments of printed text, reads QR codes and turns the recognized result into actions: call, write, translate into 100+ languages online and into 10 languages offline, search on the Internet or on maps, create events on the calendar, edit, voice and share in any convenient way.

App Website 

Image Translator by Sparkling Apps

Image Translator uses advanced AI techniques to find the text in the image. Either translate directly using your camera or use any images stored on your phone.

App Website 


Voice Texting Deluxe by Sparkling Apps

After the massive success of 'Voice Texting Pro', we have now launched 'Voice Texting Deluxe'. It's still simple: just speak into the microphone and convert your speech into text. Then directly send your message to e-mail, SMS, Twitter or Facebook. You can also send it to your clipboard (copy) and paste the dictated text in any other application.

App Website 



Thursday, July 30, 2020

Tech Tips: Alexa is Changing

Tech Tips: Alexa is Changing

Contributed by Jerry Price, Assistive Technology Specialist

No need to panic, but the Alexa app from Amazon is going through some modifications.  First of all, the app now has a “hands-free” mode so that your personal assistant can assist you at all times.  You will also find the Alexa button at the top of the screen rather than at the bottom.  Secondly, the app itself is easier to navigate and places your favorite activities at the top.

These alterations will be rolling out over the next couple of weeks, so if your device has not upgraded yet, it will.

Thursday, July 23, 2020

Technology User Group Meeting, August 8th

Technology User Group Meeting

Contributed by Jerry Price, Assistive Technology Specialist

On Saturday, August 8th, the Technology User Group is pleased to welcome Stacey Crown who will be giving us a virtual demonstration of OrCam products and services.

This technology enables blind and low vision individuals to read text, recognize faces, and much more.


The presentation will be virtual and may be joined by calling 319-527-4994.  You do not have to RSVP for this event.


The presentation will begin at 10 AM and last about 60 minutes.


We look forward to meeting with you virtually on Saturday, August 8th, and hope that you will join us for other exciting events we have planned throughout the year.


If you would like to listen to previous TUG recordings, please click here:


Upcoming TUG Programs:


Saturday, September 12, 10 AM, the BlindShell Mobile Phone.

Saturday, October 3, 10 AM, LookOut, The Amazing Android app.


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For more information about the Technology User Group, please contact Jerry Price at (410) 230-2446 or via email at