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Google to launch Lookout app to assist the visually impaired

The Android app will be made available on the Google Play Store later this year and will use spoken words to help blind people navigate.

Published onMay 8, 2018

  • Google announced plans to launch a new Android app, Lookout, sometime later this year in the US.
  • The app is designed to assist blind or visually impaired people by sensing objects in the real world.
  • Lookout then uses audio cues, in the form of spoken words, to alert people of objects in the world.

Google is making an effort to help the many millions of blind or visually impaired people in the world navigate their homes, offices and other environments. Today, as part of the Google I/O developer conference, the company revealed plans to launch a new Android app called Lookout sometime later this year in the US Google Play Store.

The app is designed to be used for an Android phone that’s worn either around the neck or inside a shirt pocket, with its rear camera positioned in front, away from the body. In the Lookout app, you select a mode, and then the app senses where objects are in the world. It uses spoken words to alert the user about the location of, for example, a chair in the living room, a bathroom in a store and so on. It can even detect, and then speak, the text of a book that a user wishes to read.

Google says that after Lookout is released its machine learning features will allow it to learn what people are interested in hearing about and respond more accurately. It’s also designed to be used offline as well.

This is not the first Android app to be released that was designed to assist blind or visually impaired people. In October, the Lend My Eyes app was released in the Play Store. It is supposed to connect a blind person with a sighted volunteer, who can inform and help the blind person with tasks and printed information.

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