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Samsung’s new apps help visually impaired communicate better with the world

Samsung has launched two apps- Good Vibes and Relúmĭno - that will turn a smartphone into a communication tool for people who are deaf and blind or have low vision.

Written by Anuj Bhatia | New Delhi |
Updated: September 9, 2019 6:13:53 pm
Samsung Good Vibes app, Samsung Good Vibes app India, Samsung Relúmĭno app, Samsung apps for blind deaf, smartphone apps for people with low vision Samsung’s Good Vibes and Relúmĭno apps are a big leap towards making tech accessible to blind and visually impaired users. (Image credit: Anuj Bhatia/Indian Express)

Samsung has launched two apps- Good Vibes and Relúmĭno – that will turn a smartphone into a communication tool for the visually and hearing impaired or have low vision. The announcement was made by Samsung at the National Association for the Blind in New Delhi.

Out of the two, Good Vibes allows people with these disabilities to have a two-way communication using their smartphones. The app uses Morse code to convert vibrations into text or voice and vice-versa. The text or voice is received as vibrations in Morse code that the deaf and blind can easily interpret.

The app has been designed in India and Samsung has partnered with Sense India, an organisation working towards the upliftment of deaf and blind in the country. Samsung said it pilot-tested the app for more than a year before making it available on the app store. The Good Vibes app can be downloaded from Samsung Galaxy store and will be available on the Google Play Store in a week or so.

Relumino app, on the other hand, is a visual aid app that helps visually impaired read. The app essentially processes video projected through the rear camera on a smartphone, and then makes the images more user-friendly for the visually impaired.

For the Relumino app, Samsung is working closely with the National Association for the Blind, Delhi. As part of the project, Samsung will provide the Gear VR and Galaxy Note 9 smartphones to the National Association for the Blind, and will also train them on how to take advantage of the Relumino app. The app works in conjunction with the Samsung Gear VR, a virtual reality headset.

The Relumino app has been developed by Samsung employees as part of the company’s C-Lab program globally. Samsung’s C-Lab, which is a startup business initiative that encourages Samsung employees to come with crazy and wild ideas. In Latin “Relumino” mans “light up again”.

‘Accessibility tech on rise’

Not just Samsung, but major tech companies like Apple, Microsoft and Huawei are bringing unique solutions to make everyday technology accessible to people with disabilities. Apple, for instance, is running its “Everyone Can Code” initiative for the Swift programming language to schools across the US that cater students who are deaf and blind.

Like Apple, Microsoft is also helping people with disabilities. The Redmond-based company is selling the Xbox Adaptive Controller for Xbox One console and PCs, which helps blind and visually impaired people play games. Microsoft’s Xbox Adaptive Controller was amongst Time’s fifty Best Inventions of 2018.

Honor, a sub-brand of Huawei, recently launched AI-powered PocketVision app that makes it easier for visually impaired and blind people to read. PocketVision has a text to speech mode that helps to convert pictures to text faster, zoom in mode that allows users to zoom into text using the volume buttons on their device and negative image mode which the contrast of printed materials for people who struggle to see certain colours.

Developed by social company Eyecoming, the app is free and can be downloaded from the Huawei AppGallery and supports English, Portuguese, German, Spanish, Italian and Chinese language.

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