22nd September 2017
Across China: Smartphone app opens the world for the visually impaired
Editor: Zhou Xin
After a long day at work, Yang Haitao pulls out his smartphone, opens the WeChat social networking app, and asks one of his friends where they should meet for dinner.
While this seems normal for many people, it’s significant for Yang, who is blind and previously couldn’t use a smartphone.
Yang, 35, is a chiropractor at the Gansu Provincial Hospital Rehabilitation Center. Born blind, he missed out on many basic aspects of life growing up.
“I can’t cook and I get anxious when cab drivers drop me at a place I’m unfamiliar with, so in the past I often didn’t do anything after work,” he said. “But now I have my smartphone.”
Yang’s Huawei smartphone is filled with apps for map navigation, online shopping, music, car hailing, and food delivery services, similar to those of any smartphone owner.
“My life now is much more convenient and colorful,” he said.
Yang uses an app called “Protection and Ease,” that reads aloud text on the smartphone screen. It’s the brainchild of a team led by another blind man, Cao Jun.