1. AI Episode 1: Intro to Artificial Intelligence in Teaching
  2. AI Episode 2: What Does An AI Teaching Assistant Look Like?
  3. AI Episode 3: Implications for Thought Leaders and Policy Developers
  4. Introducing Simulations into Teacher Preparation Programs
  5. Assistive Technology to Support Writing
  6. Enhancing Instruction and Empowering Educators with AI Tools and Technology
  7. So, AI Ruined Your Term Paper Assignment?
  8. Step by Step Use of Chat GPT
  9. CIDDL ChatGPT: Summarizing Text
  10. CIDDL ChatGPT: Solving Multiple Choice Questions
  11. Equity, Diversity, and Access to Technology in the Age of Artificial Intelligence
  12. CIDDL ChatGPT: Writing Programs
  13. CIDDL ChatGPT: Solving Word Problems
  14. Artificial Intelligence: Positives and Negatives in the Mathematics Classroom
  15. AI to Support Literacy
  16. Using the AI Bill of Rights to Guide Education’s use of AI and the European Commission’s “Ethical Guidelines for Teaching and Learning” to Guide the Future of AI in Education Part 1 of 2
  17. Using the AI Bill of Rights to Guide Education’s use of AI and the European Commission’s “Ethical Guidelines for Teaching and Learning” to Guide the Future of AI in Education Part 2 of 2
  18. Three Free & Easy Tools to Support Tiered Reading in Your Classroom
  19. The Question of Equity in the Age of ChatGPT
  20. CIDDList: 5 AIs You Need to Check Out This Summer!
  21. Mixed Reality Simulations, Personalized Learning, AI, and the Future of Education with Dr. Chris Dede
  22. Foundations for AI and the Future of Teaching and Learning from the US Department of Educational Technology
  23. Apple Enters the AR/VR/MR/XR Scene
  24. ChatGPT, AIs, and the IEP?
  25. There’s An AI for That: A Site Dedicated to Curating AIs
  26. UDL, Design Learning, and Personalized Learning
  27. Embracing the Future: How Teachers Can Harness AI at the Beginning of the School Year
  28. Empowering Special Education Faculty: Navigating the AI Landscape in Higher Education for 2023-2024.
  29. CIDDList: Back-to-School Checklist for Technology in Teacher Preparation Courses
  30. Cracking the Code: Students with Disabilities in the Computer Sciences 
  31. UNESCO Discusses Artificial Intelligence
  32. AI-integrated Apps for Those with Visual Impairments: Camera-Based Identifiers and Readers
  33. Publishers Respond to Generative AI
  34. K-12 Generative AI Readiness Checklist
  35. CIDDL Talks How AI Will Change Special Education at TED
  36. Re-designing and Aligning an Intro to Special Education Class to the UDL Framework through Technology Integration: Minimizing Threats and Distractions
  37. Resources for Learning About AI Going Into 2024
  38. Artificial Intelligence in Education 2023: A Year in Review
  39. Revolutionizing Mathematics Education in K-12 with AI: The Role of ChatGPT
  40. Image Generating AI and Implications for Teacher Preparation
  41. Are We There Yet? AI for Statistical Analysis
  42. Answers to Your AI Questions: A Conversation with Yacine Tazi
  43. Emerging Trends in Special Education Technology: A Doctoral Scholar Symposium
  44. 2024: A Space Odyssey? How AI and Technology of the Present Compares to HAL9000 and the Predictions of 2001: A Space Odyssey
  45. Using ChatGPT for Writing Lesson Plans
  46. Updates in the World of AI
  47. CIDDList: Exploring GPTs Available with ChatGPT Plus
  48. Prompt Engineering for Teachers Using Generative AI: Brainstorming Activities and Resources
  49. Understanding the AI in Your Classroom
Image of a woman taking a photo with an iPhone.

AI-integrated Apps for Those with Visual Impairments: Camera-Based Identifiers and Readers

Author: Yerin Seung, Samantha Goldman; info@ciddl.org

Associated material

Picture a classroom where every student, including those with visual impairments, can access learning materials and environments. Using the Universal Design for Learning framework, combined with artificial intelligence (AI), teachers are able to make this dream a reality in their classrooms. AI has empowered students with visual impairments to explore their potential and tackle academic tasks.

Technologies to support those with visual impairments such as braille displays, and electronic magnifiers are not new. However, AI offers an increased potential for empowerment, self-reliance, and independence. In a recent study, AI was found to significantly improve the sight problems in the daily lives of those with visual impairments. It especially helped when they were walking on the road or reading text by translating visual information into audible cues.

Why AI for students with visual impairments?

Some of the challenges students with visual impairments experience include reading, seeing objects at a distance, and/or participating in class. AI can support reading and seeing objects by providing audible information rather than visual information. What makes AI even better is that this cutting-edge technology is accessible via apps on smartphones. Built-in AI assistants such as Siri on iPhones, Microsoft’s Cortana, Google’s Allo, and Samsung’s Bixby, are natural language processors that perceive voice, execute orders, and/or provide auditory feedback. This blog post will focus on camera-based identifiers and screen readers that were particularly designed for those who are blind or have vision impairments. Additionally, these supports have the potential to promote a more inclusive learning environment.

AI-integrated Camera-based Identifier and Reader Apps

Camera-based identifiers are apps designed to assist individuals with visual impairments by using imaging technology to recognize and translate visual information in more accessible ways. With AI integration, these supports provide more personalized experience by analyzing the environment instantly. Though each has unique features, some common features are identifying objects, texts from documents or images, barcodes, and currency. The information is interpreted into audible sound so users can understand and interact with the environment. 

Seeing AI, available on iOS, also identifies people and the amount of light. It is currently testing the function to sense scenery, color, and handwriting as well. Another app, Lookout by Google, available on Android, has its strength in recognizing food labels. Envision AI, available on iOS and Android, also scans colors and faces. Additionally, it can find the specific object you designate and notify you. Supersense, available on iOS and Android, has a smart scanner mode that automatically determines whether the camera is facing text, document, currency, objects, or barcode and provides information accordingly. You can use all four apps free of charge.

How does it work in classrooms?

Researchers are reporting that students with visual impairments find AI-integrated apps very useful. Though students and teachers need explicit training on how to use the apps to support their needs as mandated in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), there are advantages to using them in classrooms. One benefit of these apps is they are intuitive and respond to the environment. They automatically read texts or images picked up by the camera and use text-to-speech to translate them into voice. As a result, instructions and learning environments are more accessible to all students. Students with visual impairments can perceive, understand, explore, and engage with the classroom and their peers, with more independence through the use of AI.

Share your thoughts and experience

Do you have experience using these apps or similar ones in your classroom? How do you integrate technology to support learners with visual impairments in your pre-service preparation programs? Try these out and tell us about your experiences in the CIDDL community!