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Blind and Low-vision People Can Now ‘See’ the World with This App from Google

It’s hard for visually impaired or blind pals to identify things unless they are voice-guided. Google has a new app that tells the visually impaired what they see right through their Android phone – Lookout. Although it’s an app for blind and visually impaired people, not necessarily everyone.

Let’s see how you can make an Android phone accessible for blind people with the Google Lookout app.

How to Use Lookout App for Blind and Visually Impaired People

Someone who can’t see at all will need someone to help them with some first-time setups on the Lookout app. Fortunately, there already exist accessibility features on Android phones that allow you to know exactly what is on the screen.

As mentioned already, the app is as simple to use as it can get for now. Essentially, you point the phone camera at something, and the app tells you what it is through voice.

You need to select an appropriate category from the bottom to tell the app what to look for. For example, to read text from a document, you have to select the Document mode. The same is true for currency, text, and food labels.

Download: Lookout – Assisted vision

Once you download the Lookout app on your Android phone, read below how you can set it up and use it for identifying objects around you.

Lookout app for blind and visually impaired
  1. Open the Lookout app on the Android phone.
  2. Choose the mode (Document, Text, Barcode, and more) from the bottom. If you’re unsure, select Explore.
  3. Point the camera towards an object and listen to your phone saying what it is in front of you.

The “Explore” is a universal mode where the app tells you whatever it can identify from the camera viewfinder. You will get constant voice feedback about the things in front of you.

Objects recognizable using Lookout

A good way to make use of the Explore mode is to put the phone in your shirt pocket in a way that the camera is away from you and looking out of the pocket. With the Lookout app running, of course.

It will then constantly notify you with a voice about everything it sees, be it “text from a recipe book, or the location of a bathroom, an exit sign, a chair or a person nearby.” Google also recommends putting your phone in a lanyard around your neck.

Related: 10 Best Phone Screen Magnifier for iPhone and Android Users

Use Lookout App to Learn About Images on the Phone

Not only the surrounding things, but Lookout can also help you learn about the objects in the pictures from your camera roll. Remember, Lookout is an app for the blind as well as visually impaired people. It can be helpful if you don’t want to use the app right away in a specific location. You can simply take pictures and then use the app later when you’re comfortable to learn about what you managed to capture.

There are a couple of ways to “see” images through the lookout app;

Lookout images on the phone
  1. Open the Lookout app on your phone.
  2. Head over to the Images tab on the right.
  3. Select Choose Image.
  4. Browse and select an image from your phone.

Another way to do this is probably the more convenient one. If you’re already looking at photos and can’t see something in a photo, for example, you can use the Lookout app to help you from the gallery.

Use Lookout for gallery images
  1. Open the photo you want to find the things in it.
  2. Tap the Share button for the picture.
  3. Find and select Lookout from the Android share sheet. The Lookout app will then recognize the objects in the picture and tell you what they are.

Related: How to Change Font on Android, Along with Font Size

As you can probably tell from the screenshot above, the app does not always recognize the right objects. In our testing, the app has been right or close to being right in most real-world scenarios. Most importantly, it recognizes the relevant objects, such as an Exit sign, a chair, or an obstacle in your way.

Disclosure: Mashtips is supported by its audience. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

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