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University student crafts app that helps blind smartphone users snap photos

Darren Murph

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Dustin Adams, a Ph.D student at the University of California at Santa Cruz, has teamed up with colleagues at his school in order to craft an app that helps visually impaired users line up the ideal snapshot. The project started out as a quiz, asking 54 people with varying degrees of ocular impairment what they found most difficult about taking photos. From there, he essentially boiled that down into requirements for a smartphone program. For starters, the app does away with a conventional shutter button, instead relying on an upward swipe gesture to grab a frame.

Moreover, it integrates face detection and voice accessibility, enabling the phone itself to talk to the photographer and alert him / her as to how many faces are detected and in focus. The app also captures a 30-second audio clip whenever the camera mode is activated, which helps remind users of what was going on during the capture of a shot. Unfortunately, there aren't any screenshots or videos of the app in action just yet, but that's scheduled to change when it's formally unveiled at the Pervasive Technologies Related to Assistive Environments conference in Greece later this month.

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