AME Sight is an app designed to assist people who have a visual impairment to read.
In the UK over 97% of people that are registered blind have a some degree of residual vision. At the moment the equipment usually provided is a magnifying solution that consists of a movable platter that the document is placed on, a video camera and monitor. This equipment is expensive, non portable and offers limited assistance.
The AME Sight app has the same ability but significantly extends the functionality. When it is sold it will sold as a package consisting of the software, a Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 and a custom designed collapsable stand that will make it possible for the user to capture a clear, still, focussed image. This equipment will fit in a small laptop bag and can be taken and used by the owners at their place of work or school.
The app initially captures an image of the document which can be magnified. The first improvement over existing solutions is that guidelines are placed over the image so that going from one line of text to the next is much easier. Addidtional functionality not available in other products is that the document can be saved to be read later or sent by email.
The next thing that the app does that completely distinguishes it from existing solutions is that the image is processed with an OCR (optical character recognition) engine and converted to pure text. The user of the app can switch between viewing the original image or pure text. If viewing just text the fontsize, text colour and background colour can be changed to suit the users level of impairment.
Finally the biggest improvement over existing solutions is that the text can be read to the user and the app can be controlled completely by spoken commands. This is unique functionality that is not available in any competing product and opens the app to users with more severe visual impairment than any existing product.
Overall I believe that this app is a complete game changer for those living with a visual disability, it is considerably more functional, completely portable and offers assistance and a degree of independance to those that have not previously had it.
The app is written with Appcelerator Titanium Mobile and I believe is an excellent demonstration of the power, ease of customisation and flexibility that the platform offers. In order to capture a good clear image without the user having to interact with the camera settings dialogue a custom version of Titanium has been compiled that amends the Android Media module so that it auto focuses and fires the flash when a picture is taken. Also three native Android modules have been written to add the following functionality to Titanium, a module that implements Googles text to speech engine, a module that implements Googles recognizer intent and module that implements the tesseract open source OCR engine.