New mobile app helps visually impaired read signs

People who are visually impaired can use a new mobile app to help them read signage such as bus stop or toilet signs.

The app, The Sixth Sense, was developed by nine students from the Institute of Technical Education (ITE) with the help of the Singapore Association of the Visually Handicapped.

They have been working on the app since last year. Group representative Jaclyn Yeo, 18, said: “They can click on the link given, select the ‘launch camera’ option and point to any sign … [A voice on the app] will read out the sign.”

Jaclyn’s team was inspired after listening to concerns of visually impaired people, who feel vulnerable when it comes to reading the words on or even spotting signages.

“They said they prefer to be independent and not be reliant on others to read the signages, so we kept that in mind when we developed this product,” she said.

Though the project is still in its early stages, the team hopes to make the app available to all in the near future.

The project is one of 16 presented at the biennial ITE-Vocational Training Council (VTC) International Student Seminar.

The event brings together more than 600 students, 17 to 19, from six territories, including Singapore and Hong Kong. It is being held at ITE College West on June 20 and 21, and is organised by ITE and VTC.

Participants’ projects are based on the theme of “Post COVID-19 World: Towards an Inclusive and Sustainable Future.”

At the opening ceremony on June 20, Second Minister for Education Maliki Osman said Singapore must continue to encourage innovation and technological adoption to adapt promptly to post-COVID-19 norms.