By Tai Blas
As one of a growing number of very satisfied blind iPhone users, I recently discovered a fantastic bar code reader and audio labeling system called Digit-Eyes. Costing only $29.99, this system is significantly less expensive than every other audio labeling option on the market. However, users must have an iPhone 3gs or 4 or iPod Touch 4 with camera in order to use the software.
Digit-Eyes verbalizes the identity of scanned items using Apple’s built-in VoiceOver screen reader. Getting started is fairly simple. First, download the Digit-Eyes app to your Apple device. You can then take a picture to scan any UPC on products you have purchased. Digit-Eyes searches its online database for the code you have scanned and will speak its name if available. Double tap the Google button to search for product information or instructions on the web. Watch a video of Tai Blas demonstrating Digit-Eyes.
For items not contained in the UPC database, the system allows you to print bar codes on standard sheets of blank address labels which you can purchase from any office supply store. The advantage to this is that you do not need to buy expensive labels specifically designed for use with products for the blind. You would then use a template from the Digit-Eyes web site to print bar codes on the labels.
Other labels are available for purchase through the Digit-Eyes site, including washable labels for labeling clothing and pre-printed labels if you do not want to print your own. Place a printed label on any item and activate the application on your Apple device. Take a picture of the label and you will be asked to record a description. The next time you scan this label, you will hear your audio label describing the item.
I am very impressed with the quality of this product. The developers are very responsive to user comments and continue to make improvements. I have used Digit-Eyes on my iPhone 3gs to successfully identify a wide variety of items in my home, including canned and boxed foods, frozen foods, audio CDs, and more. I am able to easily look up product information via Google, as Digit-Eyes automatically fills the search field with the product name. I had no trouble printing my own labels using the instructions and templates provided at the Digit-Eyes web site.
Scanning a UPC or label with the camera takes seconds, though it may not be as quick as with some other labeling systems. I have recently acquired an iPhone 4 and believe that the scanning process will be much faster with the improved camera.
To use Digit-Eyes, all you need is an Apple device as described above, a computer with internet connection, a package of labels, Adobe Acrobat software, and a regular inkjet or laser printer.
Digit-Eyes has so many features for its relatively small price tag.