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IPPLEX Unveils LookTel Money Reader for iPhone to Help People with Visual Impairments or Blindness

  (March 08, 2011)

Santa Monica, CA (PRWEB) March 8, 2011

IPPLEX, the company behind the pioneering iVisit mobile video conferencing solution, has released their LookTel Money Reader app for the iPhone. The cutting-edge application, available now through the App Store, helps people with visual impairments or blindness instantly recognize US currency. Once the app is loaded, users simply point the iPhones camera at any US bill and the phone will speak the denomination. Powered by LookTels patented and proprietary object recognition technology, the application can seamlessly recognize any bill denomination without the need to hold the camera still or take a photo as recognition happens in real-time.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 314 million people are visually impaired worldwide and 45 million of them are blind. The decision to first release an app for the iPhone rather than another platform was based on the growing trend among people with visual impairments or blindness to adopt the incredibly popular device. Gary Kelly, an adviser to IPPLEX and the Executive Director of Blind Wisdom Inc., explains that the iPhone has become a preferred phone for persons who are blind because it has VoiceOver, an advanced screen reader that works with the phones touchscreen.

The LookTel technology powering the application was developed by IPPLEX under sponsorship from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and was awarded two research grants from the National Eye Institute (NEI) and the National Institute of Aging (NIA). LookTel Money Reader is the first LookTel application released to the iPhone App Store, providing an immediate benefit at an extremely low price. The app can be used while shopping, paying a bill, or withdrawing from an ATM to count money and ensure users they are getting the right amount of change back.

According to Kelly, who has been using the app regularly, The LookTel Money Reader is fantastic because it reads money quickly at any location even if there is no internet connection available. One can use it and sort money as quickly as a sighted person can, and do this with total independence.

Compared to traditional money reader devices, which are standalone and can cost hundreds of dollars, the LookTel Money Reader runs on the iPhone, costs only a few dollars to purchase, and is very easy to install.

Accessibility for currency has been identified as a serious problem for people with visual impairments in the United States. In 2008, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit upheld a district court opinion finding that "the Treasury Department's failure to design and issue paper currency that is readily distinguishable to the visually impaired violates section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act" (Case No. 07-5063). While no changes to US currency have yet been made, the LookTel Money Reader provides a fully accessible, inexpensive, and easy solution to identify any denomination of US bills.

Future LookTel apps will further leverage IPPLEXs groundbreaking augmented reality technology, allowing users to recognize other everyday objects such as packaged goods, CDs, medication bottles, and even landmarks. The technology also combines precision image recognition technology with text reader capabilities using full featured Optical Character Recognition (OCR).

Additional LookTel capabilities under development will enable visually impaired and blind users to immediately connect with a friend or family member using live video or audio chat right through their mobile phone. Using photos, video, push-to-talk audio and GPS tracking data sent from the phone, friends and family can help read signs on street corners and buildings, use mapping for further information, and even provide turn-by-turn directions.

A demo video of the LookTel Money Reader application is available by clicking here.

See LookTel's Money Reader iPhone app at booth #817 in Douglas Hall at CSUN's International Technology & Persons with Disabilities Conference on March 16-18, 2011.

IPPLEX researches and develops pioneering cross-platform applications and services focused on interactive communication between people and the information, contacts and places they need to access through their mobile phone or PC. Our award-winning iVisit mobile video conferencing solutions have made business simpler and easier and our iVisit Mx telemedicine solutions are the next step in mobile medical technology. In 2010, we launched LookTel, an exciting augmented reality application created to positively impact the lives of the visually impaired, and a 1st place winner in the 2010 CTIA E-Tech Awards. From live audio/video conferencing solutions to mobile healthcare to augmented reality applications, IPPLEX is always one step ahead of the curve.


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