Hi I'm Rob and I was looking for help so I can help my uncle... — Scope | Disability forum

Hi I'm Rob and I was looking for help so I can help my uncle...

Robsloan Member Posts: 1 Listener
hi I'm not sure if the particular item or solution I'm after isn't already available or solved but here's my problem
my uncle who's not very tech competent or confident has a terrible affliction m sure many here are aware of , macula degeneration. his sight whilst far from described as acute is bad enough that he has stopped doing many things he once enjoyed regularly. Reading being top of the ist.
he was always reading books or had his nose in a news paper.
well I have been trying to find a way to give him that ability again using the many new and easily available apps and gadgets out there.
the problem is it has to be simple to use and easy to maintain , preferably cheap or even if we are lucky free.

so far I've found a few apps  that appear to be the perfect solutions to the various stages of scanning a source of text - into say, your smart phone? and then using another app or built in feature to recognise that as text or turning it into a pdf ready for another app to OCR that image into readable text for a voice program to then be able to readaloud

so far Adobe scan is fantastic at automatically finding and scanning any text you have in front of you and creating a usable PDF (a very important feature for my tech savy starved uncle)
however at first only the phones own talk back feature was then able to read the pdf most other apps required conversions to text using OCR to even read. This is a step I think my uncle would struggle with technically as well as add a further step he would struggle to see. as I said the phones reader read the pdf well but required a change to how you USE the phone itself, it made navigation awkward and hard to re learn, again adding further difficulties and complications.
a friend found an app called text voice vers.5.2 which basically uses the talk back function on the phone but doesn't use the change in overall navigation, so no pressing a feature to identify then double tapping to activate etc etc. 
this is a great app and it's easy to use apart from the finding of any PDF you just created using Adobe scan. 
I just want to give my uncle the ability to enjoy a "read" of a book or newspaper with an easy use of technology
a quick snap with his smart phone, a click of a button or two, and his phone reads back all that's on the photo he took of the book or newspaper.
I'm almost there. each stage seemingly solved but I felt there must be others who have had the same idea and have solved or produced a better solution or way to achieve a similar result.

please anyone who feels they could help out or give advice,, suggestions, it would be greatly appreciated.thank you.


  • Antonia_Alumni
    Antonia_Alumni Scope alumni Posts: 1,781 Pioneering
    Welcome to the community @Robsloan thank you for sharing this with us. I wondering if you could get in touch with his GP or local council to see if there's any support he can get for this. You may be interested in getting in touch with RINB Newsagent for some advice. 

    Their number is 0303 123 9999 and they open  from Monday to Friday 8.45am to 5.30pm, or email [email protected]

    I hope this helps, please keep us updated.
  • Adrian_Scope
    Adrian_Scope Posts: 8,595 Scope online community team
    Welcome to our community @Robsloan! I'm sure in your research you've already come across it, but have you tried an app called Speechify? It might be too fiddly to meet your uncle's specific needs, but I'll just throw it out there as a suggestion.
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  • Sam_Alumni
    Sam_Alumni Scope alumni Posts: 7,674 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi @Robsloan
    I have moved your post to our assistive tech advisor category to see if @Ryan_Assistive or @Andy_Assistive can help :)
    Senior online community officer
  • Andy_Scope
    Andy_Scope Scope adviser Posts: 46 Courageous
    there are a lot of things out there that might be of use depending upon his chosen approach to reading, moving over to audio books on Audible or a similar service is one way of getting things already in voice format. For daily tasks the iPad has a built in video magnifier feature in the accessibility features and has text to speech for web sites etc although it does change the user interface once voice over is enabled. on Apple devices you can use Seeing AI which is a free app made by Microsoft it has a wealth of features for short and longer reading reading and other tasks. 
    A quick hack on any phone is open the camera app point it at what you want to read and use the zoom feature to make the image larger, its useful for short reading tasks
    Paid OCR text to speech is available in Kurzweil app but its not cheap at about £70 but ist a well developed product.

    If you want to look at many products all in one place Sight Village is worth a visit and it goes to various locations over the year. Many local VI societies run coach trips to Sight Village. https://www.qac.ac.uk/exhibitions.htm

    If your uncle like the radio then I would suggest looking at something like the Amazon echo or Google home devices as they get radio stations on voice commands so no messing with tuning. Wireless for the Blind also have their own products that might be worth considering.
    RNIB helpline is very good and can point you towards various services and support, and you could look at their online shop for things that help with daily/ independent living.
    I'd also suggest talking with your local social services sensory rehab team and looking at local blind societies (or similar). If your Uncle has ever been in the forces then Blind Veterans UK would be worth calling they support anyone who has ever been in the military and is experiencing sight loss.
    Away from technology I'd suggest talking about his required light levels which may need to be quite bright and think about upgrades that can be done with some of the more powerful LED lamps on the market 

    Hope this helps.