Eye-D: An app that can act as your eyes

At Henshaws, we’re all about encouraging people to be more independent. One way we encourage this is through the power of smartphone apps. One such app is Eye-D, which takes advantage of GPS and your phone’s camera to give location information, recognise objects and recognise text.

Eye-D is available on both iOS and Android. It is free to download but you can make in-app purchases to unlock extra features. Using an iPhone, we tested the key features to see for ourselves just how useful Eye-D is.

Where Am I?

This feature does exactly what it says: answers the question ‘where am I?’. This feature gives information about your current location including your current address and nearby landmarks.

You can also share your location with other people and when you select a nearby landmark, Google Maps will open so that you can navigate to it.

Unfortunately, location accuracy is not always 100%, however this is acknowledged by a ‘GPS accuracy’ indicator in the ‘where am I’ screen. GPS accuracy is indicated in your preferred unit of distance – the unit of distance can be changed from within the ‘settings’ portion of Eye-D.

This feature is useful, especially for discovering nearby landmarks, however GPS accuracy could be improved in order to give more accurate location information.

Screenshot of the Eye-D menu listing the app's features including Where Am I?, Around Me, See Object in Image and Read Text in Image

Around Me

Through this feature, you can explore nearby facilities. When you select this feature, a list of categories appears making it easy to find the type of facility you want.

Whether you are looking for a place to eat out, somewhere to withdraw cash or somewhere to do your food shop, this feature will enable you to look for places where you can do these things and much more.

When you select the place you want, it will start navigation to that place by opening Google Maps. If you upgrade to Eye-D Pro, selecting the place will give you its phone number, its star rating and the option to call the place directly from within the app, as well as a ‘start navigation’ button which will open Google Maps.

With Eye-D Pro, you can also search for places so you can be even more specific with what you are looking for. The accuracy of locations is good.

Screenshot of the Around Me screen, featuring categories including ATM, Bus Stations and Stores, as well as the radius selector and search function

This feature is useful as it allows you to explore nearby places for doing certain tasks.

See Object in Image

With this feature, you can take a picture of what is in front of you and Eye-D will say what is in the image. Eye-D gives multiple interpretations of an image and describes the image by giving a list of objects.

This feature works very well and is unique in that it gives more detailed descriptions when compared with other apps which perform a similar task.

Unfortunately, Eye-D will only ‘see’ objects in images that you take with the app – there is no way to import photos already stored on your phone when using this feature.

With this feature, you can take a picture of a piece of text and Eye-D will read it out loud.

If you upgrade to Eye-D Pro, you can also use the ‘read text offline’ feature which will enable you to recognise text in an image even when you are not connected to the Internet, providing the text is in a Latin-based language.

With Eye-D pro, you also have access to the Eye-D market, where you can purchase another additional feature: Advanced OCR. This feature allows you to save results so you can view them again from within the app at a later date and you can import photos from your phone’s camera roll in order to recognise the text within images that you have taken or saved using other apps.

Eye-D offers many options for text recognition from a basic ‘read text out loud’ feature to a more advanced interface so you can select, and purchase if necessary, the option that works best for you.

So…how accessible is Eye-D?

The home screen of the app is a menu which lists all of Eye-D’s features – just tap, or double-tap if you are using VoiceOver, the feature you want.

There is also a Navigation Drawer, which when activated, reveals additional options including the settings option and the app manual.

Text within the app is white on a black background and works best with default font sizes. VoiceOver works perfectly with Eye-D, with the most basic gestures working throughout.

Should I download?

Eye-D contains many features that can be found in other apps. However, unlike other apps, it has navigation and identification features in one place – most other assistive apps either do one or the other.

While Eye-D has various features which cost money, you can do plenty of things with the free version.

Here at Henshaws we love Eye-D, however there are still a couple of improvements that could be made, especially to GPS accuracy, and making more options available in the ‘see object in image’ mode.

Why not download it, have a go with it and let us know how you get on.

Download From the App Store

Download from the Google Play Store

Eye-D is just one of many apps that could enable you to lead a more independent life.

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