7/29/2014

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App lets blind people see what's in front of them

App lets blind people see what's in front of them

SEATTLE -- Rose Waagan has a lot going for her. Blind since she was one year old, Waagan has developed an amazing ability to hear rapid electronic text-to-speech that the average person could never understand.  

She's just as fast navigating on the web as any tech-savvy geek.

But there's one thing the 25-year old has been struggling with since she got married two years ago.

"When I got married I was worried about cooking and being able to identify objects when my husband wasn't home," Waagan said.

While Waagan can successfully negotiate around the Lakewood apartment she shares with her husband, figuring out what's available in her pantry for dinner was an issue.

"Seriously, I have not had dinner made some times when he's come simply because, he didn't get those items out for me, I felt so guilty," she said.

She could find things with her hands, but she couldn't she what was inside a jar or a box.

For nearly a year, she has been using an app called Tap Tap See, which in its unique way lets blind people see what's in front them. The app uses an iDevice's camera and VoiceOver functions to photograph objects and identify them out lout for the user.  Waagan uses her iPhone 5.

Waagan double taps on her iPhone's screen to photograph any two or three dimensional object at any angle. The picture is sent via the internet to a Tap Tap See server.  Depending on the connection, Rose is told what's in front of her based on the object and it's labeling.

She can even share the identification with anyone via text, social media and email.

Now Rose doesn't have to rely on a pair of eyes to make dinner.

"To be able to eliminate that step from my life, it makes me so much happier," she said.

TapTapSee is a subscription based service. New users are provided with 20 trial pictures to get started. A subscription of unlimited uses starts at $10 a month.

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