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A Picture Is Worth More Than A Thousand Words

Posted in Apple Inc

I was not born blind. I lost the vision in my right eye right before I turned 11 years old, but at least I had good vision in my left eye. That is, until I was 28 years old. And one of the things I always loved to do was to take pictures.

It seemed that I was always the one in the family to take pictures at gatherings and celebrations. I snapped photos of my friends almost every time we were together, especially if we were doing something special, like celebrating one of our birthdays, or going somewhere or doing something that we wanted to remember in pictures. I would get the pictures developed, yes, the practically obsolete method of viewing pictures, then painstakingly but methodically put them in photo albums, which I still own.

But then I lost most of my usable vision. Ever since then I have not been able to see any pictures that anyone has taken, or wanted to show to me. I suppose I could have picked up a camera and attempted to take photos, so that others could see them, but I was never really sure of what I was taking. Then along came the ios devices, and I now have an iPhone and an iPod touch.

When the omoby app was introduced, it was designed to identify objects and items. One day I took a picture of our cat. I waited impatiently to find out if I had actually had the cat in the viewfinder. A few moments later, the result came back, gray cat. Wow! And there was the capability to share the photo in an email. I sent it along to my husband and daughters, who were all quite impressed and wanted to know how I was able to do it. Alas, though, in the latest update of omoby, the capability to share the pictures you snap is gone.

Don’t worry, be happy, for fortunately, at this point we have other alternatives. One way to send a photo is to use the vizwiz app. This app was designed for the visually challenged to take a picture, then record a question which could be sent to an actual person on duty to identify what was in the picture. This person is referred to as a web worker. The photo could also be sent to an I.Q. engine, as well as emailed to anyone the photographer wanted to identify the object or item. I once sent a photo of a pair of shoes for my sister to see. She said the picture was centered and she could see it just fine, and helped me decide if the color of the shoes was the color I was looking for to match a skirt. However, I’ve also used this method to send a picture of something and even someone in an email, for the recipient to view and then save for themselves.

The iOS devices come already equipped with a camera app, as well as a photos app for viewing the pictures taken on the device. Up until this point, taking a picture was possible, but, again, whether or not I was taking the desired photo, or whether or not I had the person centered in the viewfinder I did not know. Someone sighted had to tell me if I had actually ttaken a decent picture, one that wasn’t completely off center, or worse, way off the mark of what I wanted to photograph. But that has all changedsince the introduction of iOS 5. When the camera app is opened, the viewfinder is on the screen, along with a camera chooser button for front or back camera. The default is back-facing camera. Also, there is a flash button, which defaults to automatic. This is the best choice for the blind, as the flash will, well, flash, whenever the light conditions require it. When taking a picture of someone, VoiceOver now speaks how many faces are in the viewfinder, and where they are located there. I took a head shot of myself yesterday. VoiceOver told me there was one face in the viewfinder, a full face, and it was centered. I snapped the photo, and immediately a screen appeared with, among other things, an action button. When pressed, I was given several choices to do with the photo. I could assign it to a contact, which I did, to mine. It could be sent to Facebook or Twitter, printed, copied, used as wallpaper, or photo streamed. It could be, emailed or sent in a text or iMessage. I sent the photo in an email once again to my family, and our older daughter emailed me back, wondering how I got the picture so well centered.

Though I still cannot see photos, which I do miss, I don’t know how many words it will take to convey how very thrilled I am, having the capability to snap pictures, especially of people. I will love collecting pictures of family and friends and assigning each to their contact. And I will continue to share pictures with others, for them to enjoy!

Do you take pictures with your ios device? If not, does this sound like something you would like to do, now that there are options for us to be able to do so with much better accuracy? If this new capability is important to you, or if it is not, what ever your thoughts, let us know with your comments below.