A Mobile Phone Application Enabling Visually Impaired Users to Find and Read Product Barcodes

  • Ender Tekin
  • James M. Coughlan
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 6180)


While there are many barcode readers available for identifying products in a supermarket or at home on mobile phones (e.g., Red Laser iPhone app), such readers are inaccessible to blind or visually impaired persons because of their reliance on visual feedback from the user to center the barcode in the camera’s field of view. We describe a mobile phone application that guides a visually impaired user to the barcode on a package in real-time using the phone’s built-in video camera. Once the barcode is located by the system, the user is prompted with audio signals to bring the camera closer to the barcode until it can be resolved by the camera, which is then decoded and the corresponding product information read aloud using text-to-speech. Experiments with a blind volunteer demonstrate proof of concept of our system, which allowed the volunteer to locate barcodes which were then translated to product information that was announced to the user. We successfully tested a series of common products, as well as user-generated barcodes labeling household items that may not come with barcodes.


Mobile Phone Camera Phone Candidate Area Blind User Computer Vision Algorithm 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ender Tekin
    • 1
  • James M. Coughlan
    • 1
  1. 1.The Smith-Kettlewell Eye Research InsituteSan Francisco

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