Lookout: Google Develops the App to Help the Visually Challenged

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It’s been a few days since Google held their annual conference – I/O 2018, and we’ve chosen to talk about a fantastic app developed for visually challenged people.

The app is called Lookout and it Google plans to launch it later this year. How does the app works?

Lookout Modes: Home, Work & Play, Scan, and Experimental

The app will scan objects, text, and people, giving audible indications. In a similar approach, Microsoft created Soundscape to help people navigate cities by providing audio cues and labels.

Lookout comes with four modes: Home, Work & Play, Scan, and Experimental. According to the mode activated, the app will process the item it sees and it will share relevant information.

Google said that the app gives information on a recipe, the location of a bathroom, circulation signs, a chair, or even a person in the proximity of the user. The app gives spoken notification to minimize interaction and allow users to continue their activity without checking the phone.

If a user chooses Home mode, then the app will tell the user where is the location of a couch, a table and other objects inside the house. The same works for Work & Play mode, which tells the person when they’re close to a stairwell, or elevator. The Scan mode will read text from a book. The Experimental mode will enable early access to users.

Couch to Your 3 o’clock

When you hear Lookout saying there is a “couch 3 o’clock”, you’ll know that the couch is on your right.

For the app to scan the surrounding environment, the user has to wear the phone in a shirt pocket or on a lanyard around the neck. The camera has to face the surroundings. It will scan what it sees and deliver the results, using machine learning and it doesn’t need an Internet connection.

Patrick Clary is the Product Manager for Google’s Central Accessibility Team. He stated in a blog post about the app that:

“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.”

Lookout will be available for all Android devices.

Rex Austin

Rex Austinwas born and raised in Thunder Bay Ontario on the shores of Lake Superior. Apart from running his own podcast (Ice Fishing And Other “Cool” Things), he spends his time canoeing and backpacking in Northern Ontario.. As a journalist Rex has published stories for Global News (Thunder Bay) we well as Buzz Feed and Joystiq. As a contributor to Great Lakes Ledger, Rex most covers science and health stories. Contact Rexhere