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A simple accessibility app can make the visual world audible

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Pharmaceutical giant Novartis has created an app to make visually impaired people's lives a little easier. ViaOptaDaily is available for iOS and Android phones, offering a suite of functions that aim to translate the visual world into audible cues. It's essentially six apps in one: there's a weather element, which reads the current conditions aloud; a tool that uses your phone's camera to determine the color of an object; a money identifier that detects and reads aloud the value of bills, and a simple contacts manager, timer and magnifier. ViaOptaDaily isn't doing anything particularly new -- its functions are available through other free and paid apps -- but what it does do is offer all of the above functions in a simple visual and audible interface, for free. The app can currently speak English, German, Spanish, French, Chinese, Arabic and Japanese, although the fact that it can only detect dollar bills and euro notes limits some of its efficacy internationally.

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