Grey Singapore, one of Singapore’s largest integrated communications agencies, has launched a smartphone application that helps the visually impaired to make everyday life choices on their own. The innovative app called, “Lend an Eye”, acts as a remote guidance system that helps them do just about everything and thereby giving them a sense of independence.
While many visually impaired get around with the use of canes or guide dogs, “Lend an Eye” is mobile technology that was developed to enhance their lives, to help them accomplish day-to-day tasks such as daily commute, reading signs or menus, counting change, or even picking out groceries.
For instance, to make their way to a new destination, the visually impaired just need to launch the “Lend an Eye” app via voice-activation to call for a sighted guide. The call goes out to a group of guides simultaneously. Hands-free equipment such as an ear piece is connected to their smartphone to communicate with their sighted guide. Via live video streaming, the guide will be able to see what is before the visually impaired person and talk to him or her through the earpiece to guide them to their destination. To help the guide, an embedded map helps to plan a better route and the live feed helps to identify hazards and obstacles ahead to ensure that the visually impaired person reaches his or her destination safely. Though the system is dependent on a wireless internet connection, it gives them new freedom and independence.
There are over 3,000* people in Singapore who are visually impaired or with low vision (partial sight). They often need access to visual information but lack a sighted companion nearby to assist them. The goal of the app is therefore to enhance independent living skills
for persons with little or no sight, by allowing them to have information readily available at their fingertips - be it to navigate obstructed pathways, help to pick clothing in their favourite colour or to select a brand of toothpaste.
The app was trialed with a group of employees from the Eureka Call Centre Systems, an award-winning contact service provider that employs Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) in the call centre industry.
Carolyn Toh who has been visually impaired since birth said paying her telephone bills on time is a challenge unless someone is beside her to guide her. Without someone to read the bills to her, payments are late or delayed for a month. “It's a sense of independence, even though someone's helping you out," said Ms Toh. “I discovered a true freedom of movement that I haven't experienced for a long time.” To view Carolyn’s testimony, please visit: http://www.lendaneye.com/carolyn.html
“The great thing about ‘Lend an Eye’ is that it gives the visually impaired a sense of reassurance – they can seek the answers that they need immediately with a touch of a button,” commented Charis Low, Call Centre Manager, Eureka. To view volunteer guide’s testimony, please visit: http://www.lendaneye.com/siewhwei.html
“This app is about expanding possibilities for people with vision loss. We hope it will remove barriers for people with vision loss so that they can live their lives to the fullest making everyday decisions just like people with vision do,” explained Ali Shabaz, Chief Creative Officer, Grey Group Singapore, Indonesia and Thailand. “We hope to develop the app further such that technology is used in an unprecedented way to enrich the lives of more disabled people,” he added.
The app is currently available on Android and the iOS version is expected to be available in May 2013.
To download the app, please visit:
The team behind the “Lend an Eye” app:
Chief Creative Officer: Ali Shabaz
Associate Creative Director: Joseph Cheong
Senior Art Director: Yingzhi Deng
Copywriter: Karn Singh
Senior Interactive Designer: Sudhir Pasumarty
Mobile Application Specialist: Sandeep Bhardwaj
Mobile Application Architect: Sudhir Pasumarty, Sandeep Bhardwaj
User Interface Designer: Sudhir Pasumarty, Leow See Ming
Web Designer: Victoria Koh Wei Ting