Fred called last week about helping out people who are blind or have low vision, and he got so many emails from people, he's decided to start a blog to continue his help. His email is firstname.lastname@example.org (he's a retired pharmacist). Leo says a blog is a great idea because it will be a valuable resource that people will find searching on Google.
Bill is disabled and needs help getting his technology to work. Leo says that there are foundations that are dedicated to helping disabled people configure their tech for accessibility. They will also help him get a better price or even have it underwritten. Most computers and mobile devices do have limited voice control. Check out the NationMSSociety.org. There is an article there on living well with MS and it contains a section on accessibility in technology.
Joe's mobile phone isn't very loud. What can he do? Leo says that each mobile model is different. Some are even too loud. But there is a known issue with low volume during calls with the Moto G5. There's also a setting called "voice privacy" that he can disable to turn it up, and under Accessibility, there is a "hard of hearing" setting.
Fred is legally blind, but he knows of a new app by Microsoft called Seeing AI. It offers text reading, barcode scanning, it will tell you if your light is on. It basically narrates the world around you. Currently only available, quite ironically, on all Apple devices.
Leo says another option is called Be My Eyes. It works on Android.
Olga wants to know if the Amazon Echo Look is a good option for the blind. Leo says that while the Echo is great for the blind in general, the Look model has a camera that is really only good for taking pictures of an outfit to make a fashion choice. Then it uses the pictures to compare wardrobe choices from the last week and to recommend outfits. Leo found it to be a bit silly, and it might not be her taste.
Leonard wants to get a new computer and he's got failing vision and would like to have one that can help him. Leo says Leonard will also need a screen reader to help read the screen. Leo recommends contacting the Lighthouse for the Blind. Or a Local Disability Resource Center. They can help you not only getting a computer and setting it up, but also getting you the tools you need to work with it. Call the Foundation for the Blind at 214-340-6328 and they'll help you find someone in your area that can help you.
Julian called in with a suggestion for for Larry in Prescott, AZ, who wanted to connect an external camera to his smartphone for use with an app called BeMyEyes that acts as a visual aid. Julian's idea is to either use an Android device for this, or to use a service called aira.io. This service works in conjunction with glasses that would be worn and identify what things it is seeing.
Larry wants to use his camera with Be My Eyes on his iPhone, an app for the vision impaired. Leo says the first thing he'll need is a camera that can connect over Wi-Fi. Then he would need an app to allow him to remotely control it from the iPhone. Leo says that iOS sandboxes each app for security purposes, so one app can't compromise others, so he likely won't be able to use a separate camera with that particular app.
James is a military vet who is disabled. Most of it is dealing with PTSD and brain damage. He wants to know what technology will help him in daily life, especially when it comes with memory. Leo says that computer technology can keep his access to the world alive, and it can be used with assistive situations that life requires. The Amazon Echo and Google Home, for instance, can help the blind.
Leo recommends looking at the Veteran's Affairs Assistive Technology site at https://www.vaatech.org. The site offers help with: