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Frequently Asked Questions

LookTel Recognizer FAQ

What is Recognizer?
Recognizer is an app that runs on Apple IOS devices. The app permits customers to store images of items they select, and recognize those items later. It is primarily intended for those who are blind, or have partial vision, who cannot identify these items easily or conveniently.

On what devices does the Recognizer app run?
The specific Apple devices as of January 2012, are the iPhone 3gs, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPad 2, and iTouch models 3 and 4.

How does Recognizer identify an item?
Recognizer requires that a library of stored images be created. This is done by capturing visual images of items you use, or wish to identify. These images are saved in a data base, or library. When the image is captured, the app requests you to give that image a verbal name or description. You can record up to a 20 second description, or just use a simple name you speak for that item. Recognizer will record that spoken description or name, and save it as a tag for the image in the library. Later, you can use the app in recognition mode, to scan items and identify them. When the app finds a match between what is in front of the camera, and an image, it plays your recording of the description or name that you gave it.

What kinds of things do people identify with Recognizer?
People often scan kitchen items, such as canned goods, frozen packages, bottled items, or jars, and later identify them reliably with Recognizer on their IOS device. People also have used it to recognize signs above store entrances at shopping malls, signs at camping locations, or at restrooms. It will also do items around the home, such as DVDs, CDs, or to identify credit cards, bank cards, and other identification cards.

How fast can Recognizer identify an image?
Quickly, if the image that is captured is a good one. Poor lighting, or a very plain image may take longer, and be less reliably recognized. Feature-rich images work well when made under good lighting.

Does Recognizer require a sighted person to capture the images?
Yes, though many people who are blind, and have some ability with a camera, have had success with Recognizer. Generally,the best images can be made by having a person with vision capture the initial images. Once this is done, the person can recognize that item reliably for as long as they use their IOS device. The time spent on the initial capture of the image is saved many times over by using the recognition for weeks, months, or possibly years from now.

How long does it take to capture an image, and build a library?
It takes only a minute or less to capture an image of an item. A few simple steps in preparation can result in images of superior quality that will be recognized well later. If a person has a companion who has vision make the images for 20 minutes a week, then in only a few weeks, the library will contain images of most common items in the home. This can result in less time being required over the weeks an months that follow, with possibly only an item or two being added in a week.

Can Recognizer do Optical Character Recognition, OCR?
No. Recognizer stores photographic images, and uses a "recognition engine" to compare the image the camera sends it to stored images in the library. When it finds a match, it plays the recording associated with the image that identifies that image.

Can Recognizer read barcodes?
Yes. Though Recognizer is made to recognize images, it can also read barcodes, and look up the barcode in a database to tell you what an item is if you cannot reliably identify the item any other way. This capability is slower than using Recognizer to identify items stored in the library, and it cannot identify all items. It is an additional capability that is helpful to have.

Where can a person get Recognizer?
Recognizer will soon be available through the App Store on any IOS device. Information about Recognizer can be obtained through LookTel.com.

LookTel Money Reader FAQ

What should I do if I can't get the application to recognize money?
If you are using an iPhone 3GS or 4th Generation iPod, the LookTel Money Reader requires a lot of light to properly recognize currency. This is especially true with the iPod Touch due to its lower quality camera. If you are in a room with adequate lighting and still cannot hear any results, ensure that the phone's volume is set to high and that it is not on silent/vibrate mode. For best results, hold the phone about 6 to 12 inches above the money you are recognizing, and ensure that the currency is as flat as possible.

Which currencies does LookTel Money Reader support?
Looktel supports the following currencies: US Dollar, Euro, British Pound, Canadian Dollar, and Australian Dollar. We will continue to add support for new currencies, but we'd love to get feedback from the community to see which additional currencies we should add next. Reach out to us at info@looktel.com or on Twitter @LookTel to let us know.

Does LookTel Money Reader support the iPhone's front facing camera?
We currently do not support the front camera because the rear camera is higher quality, allowing for a better user experience. Additionally, the app uses the rear flash on the iPhone 4 to help in low light situations.

Do I have to hold the money in a special way?
LookTel Money Reader is designed to recognize currency regardless of the orientation or angle. It can even recognize bills that are folded up!

Does LookTel Money Reader support multiple languages?
Using VoiceOver, LookTel Money Reader supports several languages including English, Spanish, French, Italian, German, Polish, Russian, Korean, Finnish, Danish, Swedish, Norwegian, Japanese and more. If your iPhone language setting is set to any of the supported languages, LookTel Money Reader will speak the denomination of a recognized bill in that language, regardless of the currency type. To change the language on your iOS device, go into the Settings menu, select General Settings, then International, then Language, and then select your desired language.

For Mac OS, ensure that your system language is set to the same language as Voice Over for proper language enunciation and translation.

General FAQ

Is the iPhone accessible for users with visual impairments or blindness?
The Phone features VoiceOver, a gesture-based screen reader that makes the device accessible. It is built right into the device, so there's nothing extra to purchase or install. You can read more about iPhone's accessibly features by clicking here.

Do you have any questions suggestions for the team? Reach out to us via email at info@looktel.com or on twitter @LookTel.