Access Lens technology helps blind people lead more autonomous life

Associate Professor Jacob Wobbrock and iSchool Ph.D. graduate Shaun Kane, who is now and Assistant Professor at University of Maryland, have developed a new way for blind people to use accessible gestures on paper documents and other physical objects, such as product packages, device screens, and home appliances to provide audio feedback about these objects.

Called Access Lens, the hardware and software system was developed in collaboration with blind computer users and was featured in an article on Wobbrock and Kane presented their research paper at CHI 2013

Access Lens uses a camera to scan documents or interfaces and software for recognizing text and tracking gestures. As text is cross checked against a dictionary file, a computerized grid overlays the document, to which the user runs their finger over as the system reads back content or provides directional voice commands.

The goal is to assist blind people lead a more autonomous lifestyle.

See a demonstration video of the technology.