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The iPhone feature that lets blind people see with their fingers
By Thom Holwerda on 2017-03-11 01:16:33

A few years ago, backstage at a conference, I spotted a blind woman using her phone. The phone was speaking everything her finger touched on the screen, allowing her to tear through her apps. My jaw hit the floor. After years of practice, she had cranked the voice's speed so high, I couldn't understand a word it was saying.

And here's the kicker: She could do all of this with the screen turned off. Her phone's battery lasted forever.

Ever since that day, I've been like a kid at a magic show. I've wanted to know how it's done. I've wanted an inside look at how the blind couldĀ navigate a phone that's basically a slab of featureless glass.

This week, I got my chance. Joseph Danowsky offered to spend a morning with me, showing me the ropes.

There's a ton to dislike about iOS, but its assistive technologies for people with disabilities are absolutely spectacular. Nothing even comes close to it.

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