Tech Capabilities: Using the Flashlight on your iPhone and Apple Watch to attract attention

Have you ever wondered how to increase independence through the various apps and devices available for the blind? Blind Vet Tech’s Tech Capabilities offers suggestions to achieve these goals.

The flashlight or torch, for my UK followers, is more than a quick method to drain your device’s battery. Rather the flashlight on your iPhone and Apple Watch may provide life saving assistance to notify or alert another to your presence. If this is the first you have heard about the flashlight feature for your iPhone and Apple Watch, these features utilizes the LED light next to the back facing camera on your iPhone and the Apple Watch’s face. Follow the steps below to activate and change the settings for the flashlight options.

The iPHone’s flashlight option as of iOS 10.11 offers individuals the chance to activate it or choose from one of five brightness levels. Voice Over users will need to do the following:

  • Place Voice Over’s focus in the status bar at the top of the screen
  • Bring up Control Center with a three finger swipe upwards
  • Swipe to the right until you find Flashlight
  • Double tap on flashlight to simply turn it on and off
  • Double tap and hold or perform a 3D Touch on the flashlight toggle to switch between the following flashlight brightness levels
    • Off
    • Medium
    • Bright
    • Brightest
  • Please note that you may need to rotate Voice Over’s rotor to the left to bring up the adjustment option to adjust the brightness levels

Apple Watch OS 4.0 and newer brought forth three flashlight modes to the Apple Watch. Technically there is not integrated LED flashlight on the Apple Watch, rather the flashlight mode turns the face of the watch into a flashlight. Voice Over users may take advantage of the Apple Watch’s flashlight tool by doing the following:

  • Bring up Control Center by preforming a two finger swipe upwards on the watch face screen
  • Swipe to the right until you find the flashlight
  • Double tap on flashlight
  • Your Apple Watch’s screen will now turn into a flashlight
  • Preform a two finger swipe to the left or right to switch between the following modes
    • Flashlight
    • Strobing Flashlight
    • Red Flashlight
  • Press the digital crown to deactivate the flashlight and return to the watch face

Hope you enjoyed learning about how to turn on your iPhone’s and Apple Watch’s flashlight through Blind Vet Tech’s Tech Capabilities.

Tech Capabilities: Recognize digital images through Apple’s Voice Over, Microsoft Narrator, and JAWS 2018

Have you ever wondered how to increase independence through the various apps and devices available for the blind? Blind Vet Tech’s Tech Capabilities offers suggestions to achieve these goals.

Did you know that Apple’sVoice Over, Microsoft’sNarrator, and JAWS each possess the ability to recognize images? No longer must we hope a website or an image title in an email contain a alt tag or name that describes what the picture portrays or PDF image states. There is a couple of caveats here. First, the image recognition falls short of Seeing AI’sor Tap Tap See’s service. If there is some text, each will attempt to OCR it, or just call it a sign, poster, or newspaper. JAWS’ image recognition is limited to OCR’ing images and PDF’s. Voice Over will OCR only a portion of a PDF image, based on what is displayed. Here is how to use the image recognition features for each screen reader:

  • Voice Over in iOS
    • Place Voice Over’s focus on an image
    • Preform a three finger single tap
  • Voice Over in MacOS
    • Place Voice Over’s focus on an image
    • Press VO plus Shift plus L
  • Microsoft Narrator
    • Place Narrator’s focus on an image
    • Press Caps Lock plus Shift plus D
  • JAWS 2018
    • Place the JAWS cursor on an image or PDF file in File Explorer
    • Press Insert plus Spacebar, then O, then F
    • Within a document, press Insert plus Spacebar, then O,and then D
    • For a full list of options, press Insert plus Spacebar, then Question Mark

Below you will find some alternative solutions to identify digital images and PDF’s.

  • Use an AIRA agent to describe or read the image
  • Scan an image with your smart phone via Seeing AI or Tap Tap See
  • Facebook recognizes images posted to your feed or page

Hope you enjoyed learning about the different solutions available to describe images through Blind Vet Tech’s Tech Capabilities.

Tech Capabilities: Review Presentationss on the Go Through iOS

Have you ever wondered how to increase independence through the various apps and devices available for the blind? Blind Vet Tech’s Tech Capabilities offers suggestions to achieve these goals.

Reviewing presentations and office documents while on the go is a must possess skills for professionals, students, or just about anyone involved with any type of board or civic duties. The saying “death by Power Point” truly is an understatement, with individuals spending more time speaking off of a slide rather than from their own intuition. Thanks to our mobile devices, like iOS, blind individuals may follow along with the slides and even figure out those pesky pictures. Here is how to take a presentation you received from an email and review it:

  • Open Mail and find the email with the presentation
  • Double tap on the presentations, which will probably contain the file extension, .PPTX
  • This will download the presentation and pull up a preview version of the presentation
  • Swipe through the presentation, relying on three finger swipes to the left or right to advance or go back in the slides
  • If a picture is detected, place Voice Over’s focus on the picture and preform a single three finger tap
  • Tap on Done in the upper left corner when you finish the slide packet

If you need to edit the slides, do the following:

  • Follow the same steps as above to pull up the presentation
  • Tap on Share in the upper right corner
  • Swipe through the list of options to share until you find Copy to Keynote or Copy to Power Point
  • Tap on the copy to option and allow Keynote or Power Point to open up
  • You will most likely have to acknowledge certain aspects of the presentation needed to be changed due to a variety of reasons
  • Navigate through the presentation and double tap on any of the text boxes you need to edit
  • In keynote, tap on More in the upper left corner and then Export to save the Presentation as a file type other than the default Keynote file type and share it as needed

You can actually preform these same steps with similar types of office documents on iOS. You will just need to change the productivity related app you hope to utilize.

Hope you enjoyed learning how to tackle presentations while on the go through Blind Vet Tech’s Tech Capabilities.

Tech Capabilities: Coupling AIRA with Blind Square to Create Points of Interest for Navigation

Have you ever wondered how to increase independence through the various apps and devices available for the blind? Blind Vet Tech’s Tech Capabilities offers suggestions to achieve these goals.

Navigating new and unfamiliar areas remains one the last barriers for visually impaired individuals. Yes, we have numerous types of navigational and way finding solutions, like the Victor Reader Trek, Google Maps, and the Seeing Eye GPS. These solutions offers a 90% solution when navigating new areas through their reliance on open sourced and well established points of interest services. However anyone who ever tried to navigate large open spaces on maps, like large parking lots, college campuses, or hiking trails, encounter situations lacking the accuracy of street side addresses offer. Well this is where AIRA coupled with Blind Square will resolve these barriers, and here is how:

  • Start a call with an AIRA agent
  • Let them know you are looking for a particular location, or if you are hiking let them know the trail system you are on and what type of trail you wish to receive directions for
  • Open up Blind Square
  • Tap on Add place, located in the upper left corner of the screen since you will be placing much detail in the location’s title
  • Name the place with detailed information about the location and area, like trail head starting on the left with a paved surface transitioning to a gravel trail
  • For a little extra, ask the AIRA agent for some visual descriptions to include in case you ever need to ask a passerby for a particular spot
  • Toggle the Alert distance to this place to on
  • Set the distance to what you feel comfortable with, just remember the smaller the area the closer you need to be
  • Check theGPS accuracy under Position Information Heading and make sure its 33 feet or less
  • If your accuracy is greater than 33 feet, you may wish to tap the Reset Location button
  • Press Save
  • Do this periodically for different points or intersections along the route
  • end the AIRA call when you finish the route

Hope you enjoyed learning how to utilize AIRA to establish a series of waypoints for a trail in Blind Square through Tech Capabilities on Blind Vet Tech.

Tech Capabilities: iOS Voice Mail Transcriptions

Have you ever wondered how to increase independence through the various apps and devices available for the blind? Blind Vet Tech’s Tech Capabilities offers suggestions to achieve these goals.

When cellular phones first gained popularity, we never needed to worry about telemarketers hounding us. Things definitely changed as many of us solely rely on smart phones for personal to business functions. This results in telemarketers and other entities calling us. Whenever I receive a call from an unknown number or unlisted number, I quickly dismiss the call and let. It go to voice mail. Unfortunately when the entity leaves a message, I really hesitate to listen to it. Apple added a nice feature that transcribes your voice mail automatically. Yes, Google Talk offered this feature for a number of years, and even sends you an email with the transcribed message, so its nice that Apple caught up. Here is how you can listen to a transcribed voice mail message. Please note , I am using an iPhone 8 running iOS 11.

  • Lock Screen
    • Place Voice Over’s focus on the notification for the voice mail message
    • Swipe downwards with the rotor set to action to More and double tap
    • Voice Over will start reading the message automatically
  • Phone app
    • You first need to listen to the message in the Voice Mail tab
    • Place Voice Over’s focus on the number or caller’s name and swipe right twice
    • Voice will automatically start reading the message

Hope you enjoyed learning how to read a transcribed voice mail message in iOS through Blind Vet Tech’s Tech Capabilities.

Tech Capabilities: Grabbing PDF’s from Mail and Reading in Voice Dream Reader

Have you ever wondered how to increase independence through the various apps and devices available for the blind? Blind Vet Tech’s Tech Capabilities offers suggestions to achieve these goals.

PDF’s functions as the bane for every aspect of our digital lives. Whether you need to read an instructional manual, apply for a job, review research or proposals, or even apply for benefits, you cannot avoid them. Sometimes you just need to be able to grab a PDF and listen to it. Voice Dream Reader accomplishes this goal flawlessly. Even better yet, you can place a PDF in the Loader folder, and it will magically appear on your iPhone’s bookshelf. Here is how.

From your computer, make sure you have iCloud set up

Enable iCloud syncing from the Voice Dream Reader settings on your iOS device

If you do not use iCloud, just save the PDF to a cloud storage solution, like One Drive, Dropbox, or Google Drive, and and use the Add function in Voice Dream Reader

From your computer, save the Pdf into the iCloud, Reader, Loader folder

Open up Voice Dream Reader while connected to the internet and wait a moment for the PDF to download automatically

Open the PDF and enjoy listening to the PDF through your favorite TTS voice and using your headset’s controls to jump in the PDF

FYI, in iOS 11 you can fill out fillable PDF’s you download and open up in Preview, but not Voice Dream Reader

    • Hope you enjoyed learning how transferring PDF’s from your computer to Voice Dream Reader allows easy reading on the go through Blind Vet Tech’s Tech Capabilities.

      Blind Vet Tech Monthly Tech Talk for September

      This is an announcement for the Blind Vet Tech Monthly Tech Talk for September 21. This month we turn our attention towards our new conferencing platform, Zoom.us and what is new in iOS 11. Zoom is a highly accessible conferencing platform allowing participants to connect via their computers, smart phones, or through a dial in number, see below for how to do this and coming shortcut kets.

      Apple releases iOS 11 on September 19, and we are super excited to share what we know. Voice Over received many updates and tweaks, earning our trust and approval. The couple of updates exciting us include the ability to fill out PDF’s, recognize a bit of text in images through a built into Voice Over OCR, find facial features in Photos, and ability to drag and drop multiple items. Zoom users will enjoy the ability to place your finger on the menu bar and automatically zoom into it without Zoom on, clean up of the Control Center for easier navigation, and the easier to see Dock and app switchers.

      Participate on the call through Zoom by:

      • Thursday, July 20
      • 1900 Central Time

      Join from PC, Mac, Linux, iOS or Android by clicking here

      iPhone users simply tap on the phone number below or dial:

      • (646) 876-9923,,7854091838#
      • or (669) 900-6833,,7854091838#

      Zoom enables one to control their participation through a series of hotkeys. The table below lists the possible actions and how to complete it based on your connection method:

      Action Zoom for Windows Zoom for MacOS Zoom for iOS Dial into Zoom
      Mute Alt A Command Shift A Mute Button on app Star 6
      Raise hand to prompt moderator Alt Y Option Y Raise/Lower hand Button on app Star 9

      Stay Informed

      Stay up to date with the latest news and announcements from the Blind Vet Tech team, by doing one of the following:

      If you have any questions, comments, or requests, feel free to send us an email here. All of our podcasts and other information related to Veterans, blindness, acceptance of a disability, and other resources may be found at BlindNotAlone.com

      Don’t miss another Blind Vet Tech teleconference, click here to see a list of our teleconferences and others we support.

      Tech Capabilities: Shopping with SeeingAI, Uber, and AIRA Through Your iPhone

      Have you ever wondered how to increase independence through the various apps and devices available for the blind? Blind Vet Tech’s Tech Capabilities offers suggestions to achieve these goals.

      From assembling a shopping list, traveling to the store, and locating each item, shopping poses several barriers for the blind. Combine Microsoft’s SeeingAI, AIRA, Uber, and your iPhone, and you can quickly get on with your day. Here is how.

      • Open Microsoft’s Seeing AI and switch to the product channel
      • Scan the various products you need to purchase, but swipe to share
      • From the share menu, select Notes and add it to your shopping list note (for extra points you can make this a checklist)
      • After compiling your shopping list, either hire an Uber to the store, or call an AIRA agent and let them handle your Uber trip
      • When you are at the store, call an AIRA agent,, and share or inform them about your shopping list to let them guide you around
      • Checkoff items on your Notes’ shopping list, checkout, and hire a Uber home

      Hope you enjoyed learning how shopping becomes easier with Microsoft SeeingAI, Uber, AIRA, and an iPhone through Blind Vet Tech’s Tech Capabilities.

      Tech Capabilities: Using Seeing AI, QR Reader, and Safari to Redeem Movies

      Have you ever wondered what is possible through the various devices and apps available? Blind Vet Tech Tech Capabilities demonstrates how to fulfill a task through tech solutions. This inaugural post will list how one may redeem a movie code for iTunes only using an iPhone running iOS 11.

      • Open up Microsoft’s Seeing AI and set the channel to Short Text.
      • Scan the various pieces of paper inside the movie case until you find the insert with the redemption code.
      • In iOS 11, open up the camera app and scan the page. You do not need to take a picture, just wait for Voice Over to announce that a QR code was located
      • Swipe to the left or go to the top of the Camera app to find the redirection link, and tap on it.
      • After Safari opens up the page, select the appropriate streaming service, i.e. iTunes, Google Play, etc…, to obtain a digital copy.
      • If the QR code cannot be located, change Seeing AI’s channel to document. Recognize the page and follow the instructions.

      Hope you enjoyed learning about your Tech Capabilities to redeem the digital copy of a movie through your iOS device using Seeing AI, Camera app (or other QR reader), Safari, and iTunes.