Battle of the Apps: Part 1

Good morning! On to my assignment! Lin wants me to check out Seeing AI. That is version 2.0. [Seeing AI is available for Apple IOS but not Android.  It’s now available in 35 different countries including the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, India, Singapore, Hong Kong, and in all of 28 countries of the European Union.]

OK. I lied. I am going to start with the light perception section of this app. I am still in bed, or rather back in bed, because my throat feels rather raw. The light perception part of the app is something I can check out lying here.

Focusing on windows, dark corners, etc. I found it works well. The tone was high when looking out the window and much lower when focused in the corner. Exactly as advertised.

Now this feature is only for a limited number of the visually impaired. The great majority of the visually impaired retain light perception. It is when the entire eye is absent or when the entire retina has been destroyed that you lose light perception. Those of us with AMD generally don’t have to worry. It is, however, a nice feature for those of us who don’t perceive light.

My iPad has iOS 11.2.1 as an operating system. That is important because my old color ID app, aptly named Color ID, is not supported In iOS 11 or higher. I cannot compared it to Seeing AI if I cannot open it. Seeing AI wins by default!

Seeing AI does well with the basic colors. Red, blue and pink were identified easily. Chartreuse was identified as green and in low light, navy blue was seen as gray.

Seeing AI will also identify two colors on a screen. A white tissue on a red couch was said to be brown and gray. A little off due to the light levels. Seeing AI warns about low light so you need to make sure you have good lighting before using the app.

Now moving on to short text. I used a business card from my travel agent and compared the reading by KNFB Reader to the Seeing AI reading of the same card. Remember KNFB Reader is $100 or so so if money is a serious issue, that may make your decision for you. Seeing AI is free. [Lin/Linda: KNFB Reader is on sale occasionally.  Sprint is now offering it free for those who use their wireless service!  I recommend that you follow it on Facebook; at least check out their FB page before you go to pay for it. KNFB Reader is available for Apple, Android and Windows 10.]

With KNFB Reader you take a photo and the text is read to you. Seeing AI does not allow you to photograph the Short Text. Seeing AI app started to read and pretty much jumped around on the card as it read. Was that my inability to keep the iPad still? Maybe. Lin said she had no problems and what she read in the help option was the Short Text feature will read what is clearest first. It is also possible that with my eyesight I did not get a clear fix on the material. Check it out and see what happens for you.

KNFB Reader has a feature – the icon is an eye – that will tell you how well centered you are on the page. I did not see that on Seeing AI. Doesn’t mean it is not there. I just did not see it.

In both cases there are computer voices with pretty bizarre pronunciations doing the reading. It is too bad they cannot make some of these trainable as they have with speech-to-text. Those of us in fields with specialized vocabulary would find that helpful.

Anyway, barring someone telling me an easy way to get to the camera and a way to keep your image still for short text I prefer the KNFB Reader.

Back again later for the other features!

Written December 25th, 2017

Next: Coming soon!

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