Make Appliances and Controls Accessible with Digit-Eyes
Guest post by Nancy Miracle
Digit-Eyes is an application that runs on the iPhone and which uses inexpensive off-the-shelf address labels and a standard inkjet or laser printer to enable iPhone users to make labels that are read aloud by their phone. It can also be used to read manufacturer's UPC barcodes.
As the CTO for Digit-Eyes, I often get asked "so what is Digit-Eyes good for other than labelling food and files?"
There are many things that are labeled for sighted people and where having labels that can easily be found and read by those who are not sighted is useful.
Using the Digit-Eyes website, you can make two types of labels:
- Audio labels
- great when you are labelling an item where the description might change (for instance, making notes to yourself), where there is a lot of content (such as when the pharmacist tells you what a prescription is for and you want to record what she says) or where you want the content to be private. The latter is because the audio label content is recorded on your phone and only you can access it.
- Text labels
- handy when you are labelling something that won't change or where you want other people to be able to read the labels.
We've heard from quite a number of people who've used text labels to make appliances accessible. Good labelling of appliance controls adds a margin of safety and convenience to ordinary household tasks. Because the address labels used by Digit-Eyes are thin and flat (unlike conventional Braille labels), they can be used to over-label those increasingly-common flat switches that are easy to clean - but which are completely impossible to understand by touch. The photo below shows how:
First, the customer went to the Digit-Eyes website, selected the type of labels she had and typed descriptions of the buttons on her oven.
She got a PDF file of the codes, put a sheet of labels in her printer and printed the codes on the labels. She peeled the labels off and affixed them to the oven controls. The labels are above the buttons for the convenience of sighted members of the household, but they can actually put directly over most types of buttons with no ill-effects.
The job was completed by putting a layer of clear shelf paper over the labels to keep them clean.
Reading Oven Labels
When the customer wants to use her oven, she simply locates the label by touch, scans it with the Digit-Eyes app on her iPhone and listens to the description of the control.
In addition to adding a measure of kitchen safety, this little project is a great way to try out making and reading labels for the iPhone.
Have you tried Digit-Eyes? Share your stories and tips in the comments.
- Nancy Miracle