QR Codes as an Assistive Technology

Digit-Eyes is an iPhone 3G app for the blind and visually impaired community. It makes text or audio QR Code labels you can read with your iPhone and also lets you read the Universal Product Code or European Article Number and find out what’s in the can or package. Nancy Miracle, President, Digital Miracles L.L.C. has sent me some images of Digit-Eyes in action and the following information.

The reason we print the codes on labels is that it is possible to find them by touch. When you are finding something in the pantry, for instance, you do a two-handed read, much like reading Braille (you use the leading hand to identify the labels and the trailing one with the phone to capture them and read them to you).

QR Codes in the pantry and on the sprinkler

In our pantry, the QR labels tell what the item is and when it was purchased. Our product (Digit-Eyes) reads the UPC labels as well, but UPC labels don’t have date codes in them and it is important to know when the item was purchased or when it should be used by. So the QR labels are more informative. Also labels are on left-over’s and items in the refrigerator. Why do this? The problem is that if you can’t see, there is no way to tell whether the leftovers are growing green hairy stuff; so being able to date code things is very handy as well as being a reasonable health precaution. The QR code labels on the sprinkler system indicate which position is ‘auto’, which is ‘on’ and which is ‘off). Without these labels, it is impossible for the person who is not sighted to use the controls.

QR Code labels for the oven and on yarn

Labeling controls on the oven. These days, most appliances have those flat switches and if you are not sighted, although you can find the switches, there is no way to know what they do. It is a HUGE problem. The QR labels on our oven indicate what the switches do (the label on the left tells the reader that the buttons below are bake, broil and clean, in that order, the label on the right says what is shown on the image of the phone). The use of the QR labels to mark the yarn (this is very handy when you have left over yarn and, six months later are trying to figure out which is the wool and which is the acrylic yarn).

In some cases, I use QR code audio labels rather than text labels. Audio labels are very handy. When you stick an audio label on something and scan it with the Digit-Eyes application your phone, you are able then to make a recorded message. The Digit-Eyes application then will store your recorded message on your phone. When you use the Digit-Eyes application on your phone to scan the label later, the audio content that was saved on your phone is played back to you. After playing a recorded message, you can change the recording, leave it as it is or delete it completely.

More information:

A full description of how we use QR Code for text labels.

A description of QR code audio labels.

A general description of what we do with labels.

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