General Question

Dog's avatar

How to help the low-income blind or visually disabled get this technology? (see description)

Asked by Dog (25132points) November 7th, 2011

I am a writer specializing in iPhone, iPod and iPad apps. I wrote an app list for the Visually Impaired and found that there are truly amazing apps out there that aid those who can not see.

After publication I heard from many blind folks telling me how these apps had changed their lives.

For those of you who are curious, here are a few of functions of these apps:

GPS apps that guide you, and warn of street crossings.

Apps that tell you what businesses are near you and how to get to them.

Apps that tell you what color things are- excellent for:
Is the banana ripe?
What color is this shirt?
Is the cheese moldy?
Is the sky cloudy?
The cable modem box lights- what color is it?

Apps that warn you of an approaching person. Excellent for work when a person can be startled. Also for security at night.

Apps that tell you which denomination money is.

Apps that have humans that answer questions for you based on a photo almost instantly.

Apps that read web sites.

Apps that detect a light source and as you approach it the signal gets stronger. (excellent if a guest left a light on, burning electricity)

That is just a sampling! There are more too!

But recently I learned that many visually disabled people are not only unaware of this technology, but that they could not afford it if they were.

Are there any charities out there that ask for donations of iDevices to recondition and give to the visually disabled? (outdated is fine so long as it has a camera)

I know I have an old iPhone 3Gs and am going to load all the apps on it and send it out to someone who contacted me. But I was wondering if anyone does this yet and if it would be feasible to start such a charity if not?

Is it expensive to set up a charity? I am totally broke.
Would it have to be set up as a charity?

I need help brainstorming this out Jellies!

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5 Answers

JilltheTooth's avatar

My mother has severe macular degeneration (she’s 87) and finds out about stuff through her state agency that deals with the blind. She probably couldn’t be convinced that these apps would help her as she’s a technophobe, but I also have a friend in a very similar boat because of albinism. I’ll ask him, and anopther blind friend who works with exactly this kind of stuff. This is very cool, @Dog , I’ll see what I can do.
Anyway, a state agency is a good place to start, as a group with the infrastructure already in place would be set up to distribute…

wilma's avatar

W hat a wonderful idea @Dog !
I hope that you can find the resources that you need.
I think that @JilltheTooth has the right idea, organizations that are already in place to help the visually impaired would be where I would start. perhaps if there is nothing included in one of these organizations, then you can be the catalyst to start such a project.

CWOTUS's avatar

I’d contact the Lions Club, since this is right up their alley. They typically collect used eyeglasses for distribution to those who can still make use of them – around the world.

Fidelco, the guide dog organization for the blind, might also be a good place to check with.

Excellent idea, @Dog.

janbb's avatar

Great idea! Have you contacted the Lighthouse in New York City? I know they sell equipment and resources for the blind; maybe they know of existing charities.

(Also, you might e-mail this query to a former Jelly whose fiancee might well know of such things.)

bkcunningham's avatar

@Dog, how absolutely exciting. Please, contact the National Federation for the Blind.

From their website: Products and technology have become increasingly critical to the NFB and its members. The NFB’s products and technology programs provide tools of independence for the blind and serve as models of consumer leadership in designing and implementing innovative services. All of our efforts to promote new products and new technology are carried out through the NFB’s model of grass-roots participation to test and implement new initiatives. Blind consumer leaders from throughout the United States take the lead in setting priorities and in promoting the use of new devices which hold promise. Much of our work, such as evaluation of technology at the International Braille and Technology Center and other programs of the Jernigan Institute, is carried out in conjunction with engineers and developers who work as partners with the Federation. However, for products and technology, such as NFB-NEWSLINE┬« and the Kurzweil-National Federation of the Blind Reader, our involvement is much more direct. Nonetheless, using either model, or some combination of both, the NFB is improving lives for blind people through the use of effective products and technology programs that are changing what it means to be blind.

National Federation of the Blind
200 East Wells Street
at Jernigan Place
Baltimore, MD 21230
Phone: 410–659-9314
Fax: 410–685-5653

And/or a state affiliate:

The website provides a list of NFB – Technology Resources.

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