Over the past year or so, Google has been making a clear effort to be more inclusive with their development pathways. We’ve seen the sound amplifier, live transcribe and their involvement with the be my eyes project. Through a blog post, we’ve now been introduced to Lookout’s new modes which bring AI features similar to the assistance you would receive from Be my eyes.

Lookout - Assisted vision
Lookout - Assisted vision
Developer: Google LLC
Price: Free

Everyone has a routine to their day, from pulling out ingredients to cook a meal, sorting through their mail, or perusing through documents. To help people who are blind or low-vision complete these daily tasks faster and more easily, we’re introducing updates to Lookout on Android: new modes, a more accessible design, and expansion to even more Android devices.

Lookout now has two new modes: Food Label and Scan Document. With Food Label, you can quickly identify packaged foods by pointing your phone’s camera at the label. Lookout will guide you to position the food product so that it can be properly identified through its packaging or barcode.

The ability of the app to utilise Android’s built-in screen reader puts Lookout on a “must-have” list of apps for users with vision difficulties. It results in the available screen space being maximised for users to capture what they need to identify or read. Further improvements mean that the app is also working on older, low memory devices and given the statement from Google on the matter we expect the continue further in the future:

Expanding this app to more people and devices is part of our commitment to make the world’s information universally accessible and to build helpful products with and for people with disabilities.

If you or someone you know lives with a disability then you know that sometimes simple tasks take planning and consideration. Simply going to the shops in itself can be a challenge! In my day job, I work in the disability sector and then go home to my son who is blind and — without his cochlear implant and hearing aid — deaf. Seeing efforts from technology providers that help to make these everyday tasks less challenging is truly heart warming.