Tommy Edison is blind, but is enjoying posting and sharing images on the widely popular app, Instagram. In a YouTube video, Edison explains how he uses Instagram to capture, edit, caption and share images he takes, even though he can’t see.
“It’s kinda fun for me, I’ve never had a camera before,” he says in the video.
Edison’s new found love of photography has been made possible by his iPhone, and apps which make the phone accessible for visually impaired people. Using the “accessibility” feature on his phone, Edison can have the phone read aloud everything he touches, from apps to filters to sharing to social networks, making it possible for him to share images.
He captures images using speech recognition software.
Thanks to another visually-impaired man, Instagram is not the app available to the blind and visually-impaired. Roger Wilson-Hinds, director and co-founder of Screenreader, built an app that will turn a regular smartphone into a tool that can help blind users navigate day-today obstacles like catching a bus, reading printed texts, and knowing which bills are $20s, and which are $1s to avoid getting ripped off. Wilson-Hinds named the app Georgie, after his blind wife’s first seeing eye dog.
“It’s the first smartphone that’s been designed for blind people by blind people,” he said.
Users can buy an Android smartphone preloaded with Georgie, or they can buy the app online and install it themselves.
While Edison uses his iPhone to post pictures for the world to see, he also has a YouTube channel that talks about “the fun parts of being blind,” in which he explains how he cooks for himself and performs other basic tasks.
While not all of Edison’s shared images turn out, commenters let him know what they see in the photos, and Edison reportedly enjoys sharing photos of his daily life.
Another handy app for blind people
Users can purchase and download additional apps that provide more functions. The lifestyle app pack, for instance, offers newspapers that read aloud, and an online blog that lets you post using voice control. The Travel app has a feature that flags nearby points of interest as well as a sort of bus monitor that will verbally let you know when the next bus is due.
Not all of the images he takes turn out well, but commenters let him know what they’re looking at in the comments. Plus, Edison seems to enjoy sharing snapshots of his daily life.
You can take a look at Edison’s Instagram feed at blindfilmcritic.