Tutorial Seeing Assistant Home
Seeing Assistant Home is an application developed by Transition Technologies S.A. in order to support blind and visually impaired people in everyday life.
Seeing Assistant Home can serve as electronic magnifying glass and can help its users to recognize colors and detect the light source. Application allows its user to scan and generate both QR codes and ordinary barcodes. Generated barcodes can be printed and then placed on selected items; one can also assign a custom label for a particular barcode. In addition, the barcodes with labels can be exchanged and shared with other users of the application.
The ability to perform voice commands, allowing visually impaired users to use application in much faster and easier manner, is the one of the biggest advantages of Seeing Assistant Home.
Using the application
Seeing Assistant Home does not use a built-in voice synthesizer. Users should have either VoiceOver or Zoom enabled on his or her iOS device. If you use Zoom, you can use the application in the same way as any other application or iOS element.
You can use „Repeat” button (placed at the bottom of the window) to replay any message you had troubles understanding.
You can turn the torch on and off by shaking the device. You can use the torch if there is not enough light in the place you are using application, i.e.; when scanning barcodes, recognizing colors or when using magnifying glass.
The application in full version has a limit – 40 speech recognition requests per day.
Seeing Assistant Home allows for scanning both traditional barcodes, attached to almost all products, and QR codes, which become more and more popular due to their ability to store more information.
To scan any code, just select “Scan code” in the main window of the application. Application will start scanning process using the main camera of your device; this action is confirmed by the sound coming from the speaker.
If you do not know the exact location of the code, move phone approximately 10cm to the surface which the code should be placed on, and slowly move phone over the surface. Application will inform you with the sound when it finds the code.
If you know the location of the code, just place the phone over that place and slowly move it away. Application will inform you when the code is recognized.
If you suspect that there is not enough light to detect the code, just shake the phone to turn on the torch.
After recognizing the barcode Seeing Assistant Home displays the name of the code and the result of the Google search for the code. If the code has been stored in the user’s private database, the application will display the label which the user gave to this code. For QR codes the application displays information encoded in the code.
You can assign custom name (label) to the recognized barcode. This label will be added to the private database of codes managed by Seeing Assistant Home and will be displayed every time the application recognizes the labeled barcode.
Select “Add Code to Database” after code recognition if you want to add newly scanned code to the private database. The application will show a new window for you to provide the name of the label which will be displayed after recognizing the code in the future. You can dictate the name instead of using on-screen keyboard – just use “Voice” option placed under edited field.
Generating QR codes
Seeing Assistant Home allows generating custom QR codes. Such codes can be used for example as virtual cards attached to an email, printed on business cards, embedded on web pages – in any place where it is important to quickly transfer data, for example contact data.
Choose “Code sets” in main window and then “My QR codes” and “Add” to generate custom QR code. Application will show a new window for you to provide the text, which you want to embed in QR code.
You can dictate the name instead of using on-screen keyboard – just use “Voice” option placed under edited field.
You can filter the list of displayed codes. To display only new codes choose “Action” and then “Show new only”. New codes are the ones that were not printed or sent by email.
Editing and removing codes
You can edit QR codes and barcode labels created in Seeing Assistant Home. You can also delete codes which you do not need anymore.
Choose „Barcode Sets” in the main window and then „My Barcodes” to edit barcode labels. Seeing Assistant Home will display all available labels. Select label you want to change and choose „Action” at the bottom of the screen. Then choose „Edit” and you will be able to write or dictate a new name for edited label. You can also choose “Delete” action to delete selected label.
Choose „Barcode Sets” in main window and then „My QR codes” to edit QR codes. Seeing Assistant Home will display all available QR codes. Select code you want to change and choose „Action” at the bottom of the screen. Then choose „Edit” action and you will be able to write or dictate a new content for edited QR code. You can also choose “Delete” action to delete selected QR code.
Seeing Assistant Home allows printing generated and labeled barcodes and created QR codes. You can print codes on sheet of adhesive paper of A4 size and then you can cut the codes and place them on the chosen items. Thanks to such labeling, you will be able to identify any item with ease.
In most of the options described in this sections there are two buttons: “Print” and “Send email”. If you have wireless printer and you have a configured connection of phone and printer you can chose “Print” and start printing using wireless connection. If you only have an ordinary printer choose “Send email”; this option will send generated codes to you email account. In order to receive email with generated codes on your computer, open attached PDF file with codes and print it. We recommend using laser printer to ensure good quality of printout.
To print generated barcodes choose “Barcode sets” in the main window, and then choose “Generate barcodes”. This will generate set of private codes and display two options “Print” and “Send email”.
You can use generated barcode many times. For example if you have generated a barcode, attached it to the item and labeled the code, and then the barcode was destroyed, you can print the barcode again to attach to the same item instead of generating a new barcode. To print labeled barcodes choose “Barcode sets” in the main window, and then choose “My barcodes” which will display all labeled and generated barcodes. Then select barcodes, which you want to print from the list of all the barcodes. After selecting one or more codes use the button “Generate PDF” and you will see two options “Print” and “Send email”.
Printing QR codes is similar to printing labeled barcodes.
To print QR code choose „Code Sets” in the main window, then „My QR codes” and select codes you want to print from the list of all available codes. After selecting one or more codes use the button “Generate PDF”; after that, you will see two options “Print” and “Send email”.
Recognizing and detecting color
Seeing Assistant Home can detect colors. It allows visually impaired people to choose matching clothes, find particular pair of trousers, or select a proper program in the washing machine, all by themselves. The application uses basic color palette without any color shades. If an area analyzed by Seeing Assistant Home contains many colors, application will define it as “Mix”.
Choose “Color recognition” in the main window if you want to recognize a color. The application will then start color recognition using the main camera. Point rear camera at the item which color you want to know. Seeing Assistant Home says recognized colors at present, during recognition. Shake the phone to turn on the torch if you suspect that there is not enough light in the room for application to correctly recognize the color.
Light source detection
Seeing Assistant Home can detect light sources. You can not only check whether the light in the room is turned on, but also whether an electronic device with display is turned on, or even whether LED of some electrical device (e.g. kettle) is turned on or off.
Choose “Light detection” in the main window to start detecting light sources. Seeing Assistant Home will start generating continuous sound. The tone of that sound depends on light intensity – the more intense light, the higher the tone. You can locate the light source by turning camera when the sound has the highest pitch – camera then points to the brightest point.
Seeing Assistant Home allows the phone to be used as magnifying glass. This application allows people with sight problems to easily read small text or watch small items. Seeing Assistant Home, apart from magnifying an image, also allows changing contrast, brightness, and color space of the displayed image.
Choose „Magnifying glass” in the main window to enable magnifying glass. Then application will start showing the image received by the rear camera. To change the camera chose „Change Camera” button placed at the top of the screen. This will cause application to use front camera to receive the image.
There are four buttons at the bottom of the screen, allowing the user to change settings of magnifying glass: Zoom, Brightness, Contrast, and Color. First three options (Zoom, Brightness, and Contrast) show slider which allows changing the image parameters, respectively magnification, brightness, and contrast. When VoiceOver is enabled you should use swipe up and swipe down gestures to change the value of the slider. If VoiceOver is disabled just use ordinary way to change value of slider, by dragging the ball right and left to achieve desired magnification, brightness, or contrast.
The „Color” button allows changing the color of displayed image. After choosing this button there are two new buttons visible: „Black and White” and „Inverse”. Just tap appropriate button to use one of those options. Tapping the button again will cause appropriate option to be disabled. To hide additional controls (slider or buttons) just choose the button again, and it will hide controls used to handle active option.
If you place device in a landscape the magnifying glass will change it to full-screen mode; it will hide all controls on the screen.
Shake the device to turn on the torch if there is not enough light to comfortably see the displayed image.
To customize application you need to choose “Setting” from the main screen. The “E-mail” option allows setting an email address to which all generated barcodes and QR codes are sent. The “Dropbox” option allows connecting Seeing Assistant Home to Dropbox account in order to create backup copies of generated labels and codes and import Dropbox directories into the application. Other options allow choosing the number of repetitions of voice messages and locking autorotation and screen saver.
Seeing Assistant Home allows storing created and recognized codes and labels in virtual cloud. It means that losing your phone or wanting to restore all factory settings does not mean having lost all of the codes. You need to have Dropbox account to use cloud backup in Seeing Assistant Home.
Choose „Settings” in the main window, and then „Dropbox” to enable cloud backup. In the first step you need to connect Seeing Assistant Home to the Dropbox by choosing „Connect to Dropbox”. If you have already configured Dropbox account at this iPhone you will need to click „Allow” in the next window. You will have two options, „Send” and „Retrieve” after connecting Seeing Assistant Home to the Dropbox. Choose „Send” to back up your data. Seeing Assistant Home will send all stored barcodes and labels when you choose this option for the first time. During subsequent archiving it will only send the codes and labels which were changed since the last backup. You can retrieve data by using option „Retrieve” from Dropbox menu. You can use this option if you loose some data. When you choose „Retrieve” Seeing Assistant Home downloads the entire database with all the codes and labels from the cloud. Seeing Assistant Home enables the user to back up his or her points and databases in Dropbox, so that any change or loss of a device does not mean the loss of user’s data. In order to utilize this functionality the user should have a Dropbox account. Backup operations are available from Dropbox menu available in the “Settings”. First step to back up the data to the cloud is to link the application to Dropbox, which is done by tapping the „Link to Dropbox” button. If the user has a Dropbox account he or she has to select “Allow” to unlock the backup functionality. After linking to Dropbox both „Upload” and „Download” buttons become active. First synchronization uploads all data, and can take several minutes to complete. Any subsequent synchronization uploads only the changed data.
If, for some reasons, the user loses his data he or she can retrieve it by selecting „Download” from the „Dropbox” menu.
Voice commands make Seeing Assistant Home a unique application dedicated for blind and visually impaired people. Most of the tasks can be launched by issuing short voice command. You can activate the magnifying glass, barcode scanner, or color recognition. All the names of voice commands are based on buttons’ or options’ names present in the application. For example, in order to enable magnifying glass you should tap „Voice commands” button and after short sound say „Loupe”. In the result Seeing Assistant Home will display magnified image from the rear camera. When you say “Scan” you will be able to scan barcode and QR codes. To return to the main window from any place in application just say “Main Screen”.
Voice Command requires Internet connection to work.
List of voice commands
In order to get familiar with the voice commands list the user should tap on the „Instructions” on the main application screen. Alternatively, the user can tap „Voice commands” buttons, and say „Voice commands list” request. All commands on the list are split into functional groups, which can be searched through with ease thanks to the headers structure.
Seeing Assistant Home allows sharing barcodes via e-mail.
Choose „Code Sets” in the main window and then „My barcodes” or „My QR codes” to share codes with other user. After selecting one or more codes, select the button „Action” and then choose action „Generate PDF”. You will be given two options „Print” and „Send email”. To share codes with other user use the option „Send email”. By default Seeing Assistant Home sends e-mails to all address saved in the application settings (option „Settings” in main window). If you want to send codes to other users, just put an e-mail address of this person into address field.
User support is a strong point of Seeing Assistant Home Choose “Help” from the Home screen and then use option “Feedback” to visit user-support site. You can use the user-support site to provide your suggestions and remarks to Seeing Assistant Home developers; those suggestions can increase application functionality. User-provided suggestions are stored in our knowledge base. All users can comment and vote on suggestions and proposals of other users. In this way Seeing Assistant Home developers can prioritize the work over Seeing Assistant Home, because they are able to see which bugs should be repaired first and which features are important to the users.
Limitations of LITE version
LITE version of Seeing Assistant Home has several constraints, such as:
- Lack of Dropbox support,
- Only 5 codes can be created.
- Only 10 characters can be embedded in QR code.
- Lack of voice commands support.
- Magnifying glass and Light Detector can be used only for 1 minute every day.
Warnings and disclaimer
Seeing Assistant Home uses Internet for many of its functions. If the user has no Wi-Fi connection or does not have an Internet package any data transfer might result in additional costs.
Transition Technologies does not take any responsibility for additional costs or damages that may be the result of using Seeing Assistant Home or that are caused by its constraints.