iPhone app lets the blind see through the crowd’s eyes

May 12, 2011 | Source: New Scientist One Per Cent

Using an iPhone app called VizWiz, the blind can now receive realtime assistance from sighted workers on Amazon’s Mechanical Turk service.

With the app, blind users use their phone to take a picture of something they want identified, have it sent automatically to a recruited worker on the Internet, and receive back an answer, all within an average time of 27 seconds. Yasmina, a student at the University of Rochester, used the app to identify a can of coconut milk amongst other canned goods.

During a volunteer test session, participants asked questions like “What denomination is this bill?,” “Do you see picnic tables across the parking lot?,” and “What temperature is my oven set to?”