One Device to Rule Them All
In the past, persons with disabilities often required a wide array of different devices to accomplish various tasks, such as separate devices to identify colors, to identify paper currency, or to read paper documents. Each of these devices served a necessary and unique function, but were usually expensive, and - unless they chose to carry all of their devices around all the time – weren’t always readily available to the user. With the proliferation of mobile devices and accessibility apps, this is thankfully no longer the case.
A single mobile device can now be used as a substitute for many of these separate devices. The inclusion of all of this functionality on a single device that users are always carrying means that users no longer must choose between carrying around a bag full of tools or going without them. These mobile apps also provide a huge cost savings to the user when compared to individual devices. Below is a list of common separate accessibility devices and their prices.
·Color/Light Identifier - $213
·Money Identifier - $129.95
·Talking Book Player (includes GPS) - $699
·Document Camera - $595
·OCR Software - \$1000
The set of devices above provide the ability to detect light, identify colors and money, read books, get around/navigate, and read paper documents. The list above does not even include the cost of a computer, which is required to use the document camera and OCR software. Compare the cost for the assortment of individual devices above with the following cost of the same features via a mobile device and apps:
·Apple iPhone SE 16gb - $349 (includes Voiceover screen reader used to access apps)
·Color/Light Identifier – Free
·Money Identifier – Free
·Talking Book Player - $14.99
·GPS - \$39.99
·Document Camera – Free (uses the built-in phone camera)
·OCR App - $99.99
There are still situations in which the stand-alone devices may be preferable or more accurate, such as trying to OCR a W-2 or distinguish between two shades of a similar color. In some cases, the apps may not be able to provide all of the functionality included with the stand-alone device. For example, iOS allows users to type in Braille on the screen, but to read content in Braille, an external Braille display must be used. However, a mobile device and apps can replace many stand-alone devices for regular day-to-day tasks.
With such astronomical savings ($2,132.98), the convenience of having all of these features readily available from a single tool, and all the other benefits provided by an accessible mobile device – such as access to phone, texts, email, calendar, web browsing and more – it’s no surprise that the mobile device is the one device to rule them all.