Smartphones are becoming increasingly complex, and built-in features are advancing with them. Among other things, many of these built-in features are useful when it comes to accessibility.
Google has introduced several features on its new smart- phones, including the Pixel 4a 5G, the Pixel 5 and some other Android phones.
Google includes a camera feature called Google Lens, which features image recognition technology. Google Lens has become more useful since it was first launched in October 2017. Older versions of the built-in feature or the app were mostly useful for reading QR codes or quickly searching for an item on Google, but the newest versions of this app include many more features, including instantly recognizing text in an image and converting it to something that can be copied onto the phone’s clipboard or read aloud.
Similarly, these devices have instant translation software that can translate text simply by pointing the camera at text in a language different from the phone’s set language. Doing this will also give the user the option of copying that text or hearing that translated text read aloud in a surprisingly smooth and realistic AI voice. While the translation software is not perfect, it will generate a reasonably comprehensible translation suitable for most users’ needs.
In addition to helping people bridge language barriers, these phones have settings that will instantly dim and tint the phone’s screen at night to preserve the user’s vision in the dark and avoid straining their eyes.
The most impressive new feature is the phone’s ability to provide live captions to phone calls, which improves accessibility for those who are deaf or have difficulty hearing or processing vocal speech. It can provide captions for phone calls and regular conversations. Just as Google has features for those who have difficulty with hearing, it has some for those with vision issues as well. In addition to the one that adds the user’s night vision, it has settings for color correction to make it easier for those who are colorblind. It also has features that will read any text found on the screen or in metadata aloud.
Technology is advancing quickly, and our phones today are capable of more than they ever have been before. These features can be beneficial for everyone, and having them built into phones automatically normalizes accommodations for those who need them. It also brings these potential issues to the attention of those who do not need them so they can become more considerate of others and their individual needs.