Are you one of those who think the blind are restricted because they can’t see?
Well, this post would change that idea.
For years, we’ve been saying that the blind can do wonderful things if given the right kind of tools and technology. With smartphone and social media proliferation, the evidence that the blind can do incredible things has only grown stronger.
Duffy (name changed), for instance, would have spoken about forgiveness at his local church in the United States. With an iPhone and Vorail, he shares his thoughts on the subject with the world.
Similarly, Rosy wants to know how to work on her new Mac device and Marie (all not the real names) wants a pen pal from some unknown part of the world.
It might sound like a crazy cacophony of voices and people, but Vorail is the place to be if someone is blind and wants to communicate with the world. All that needs to be done is to download the free voice-based app from the (Apple) App Stores, install and turn on the feed.
A list of questions appear on the screen and the user could listen to the answers people post by flipping a finger on the question, which also shows the option to add ones own bit to the discussion. An in-box for private messages and the option to like or mute (so that the person can’t hear ones messages or post a private message) completes the features of the wholly voice-based app.
If you’re one of those who like to start a discussion forum, and feel blessed not to hear your own voice but others, the app for you could be ‘Roger’, another free voice-message app downloadable from the App Stores.
In recent months, the two apps have revolutionized the way the blind communicate. No borders, no restrictions, and when it comes to making friends, sky alone is the limit.
While Vorail and Roger have tweaked the experience of the connected world for the blind, the process of connectivity itself has been on-going for some time.
Adrijana Prokapenko, a blind teacher from the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, hit the brilliant idea of starting an email magazine to connect the blind from across the world a few years ago. She subsequently migrated the group to Facebook, where her group currently has more than three thousand members from several countries.
Today, Facebook is awash with groups specifically meant for the blind with names like “VIP Lounge”, “Living in the dark” to “Technology planets for the visually impaired.”
What more, some of these platforms also provide adult blind the opportunity to find a suitable soul mates from across cultures and countries. Given the social attitude and restrictions the blind find in their own country, the platforms open up the infinite possibilities.
Vorail and Roger came with high recommendation from a close friend of mine in the U.S. The quality of the microphones in both the apps has been incredible. Voices come through clearly and it’s possible to picture the background environment since listeners are treated with sounds unique to the environment of the speaker.
These apps could help a person in different ways from learning to speak English clearly to get guidance on using various technologies, get feedback on apps or devices and even record a little piece of music that could be shared with everyone.
Every time I listen to someone on Vorail or Roger, I couldn’t help smiling with a sense of pride. The whole world thinks blindness is a disability that needs to be either pitied, resented or corrected. But here we are, taking a great leap into the wider world, discovering people and things that were once inaccessible and learning a great deal from each other.
With Facetime (that allows voice calls between iPhones), iMessage, Whatsapp and FB Messenger, the choices of the blind to communicate from different parts of the world has become better in the last few years.
And surely, we are making the most of it.