Lookout: Google Develops the App to Help the Visually Challenged

Lookout: Google Develops the App to Help the Visually Challenged

Meet Lookout, an Android app being developed by Google that can identify objects around you-from a pair of scissors to an exit sign to a lavender bush-and tell you exactly where they are located. How does the app works? "Accessibility will be an ongoing priority for us, and Lookout is one step in helping blind or visually impaired people gain more independence by understanding their physical surroundings", said Patrick Clary, Product Manager for Google's Central Accessibility Team, in a blog post. Once the app is open, users can select a mode that best describes the environment they're now in, whether that's being home, at work, in a shopping mall, or in a situation where they need to have text read aloud to them ("scan mode"). Its Work and Play mode is ideal for navigating environments like offices, shopping malls, and restaurants, while its Home mode can help you carry out chores, cook a meal, and more. It can recognize things like printed text, signage, people, and objects like chairs and tables, and notify you of their locations with audio cues like 'couch at 3 o'clock'. Lookout can be used with minimal interaction, allowing users to stay engaged with their current activity. The Scan mode will read text from a book.

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The app is expected to be available in the Google Play Store later this year. For example, it can inform them that there is a "seat 3 o'clock", so that they do not bulge in the thing for their right. They tell the app which elements to focus on. It will scan what it sees and deliver the results, using machine learning and it doesn't need an Internet connection. There is also the Experimental model that allows users to get an early access to the features that are in the pipeline. Users can place their phone in a lanyard worn around their neck, with the camera facing out.

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