The Observatory

Blind Intuition: The most useful gadgets for a vision impaired person

For a person with vision impairment, some everyday tasks can be a little trickier than for a sighted person. However, with the user-friendly technologies that are available today, and the technologies getting more advanced by the day, there’s not a lot that remains out of reach.

In terms of gadgets, Vision Australia has a plethora which I have used since I became blind, and gradually stopped using, and others I have integrated into my new lifestyle and will continue to keep using throughout my life. Here are just a few: 

Some of the gadgets Sarah Hocking uses

The liquid sensor: This gadget is used to detect when a glass or a mug is full. I used this when I first got out of surgery as I was unable to tell how full a cup was. However, since the swelling has gone down I rarely use it.

The scanner: This scanner will scan the barcode of most products, including food and toiletries. I also use the scanner on recipes in my recipe book. I get a friend to record the recipe into the speaker and it will then read it out to me. If a product is not listed you can record the product. I also used it to scan packets of food when I got out of surgery. However since my vision has improved slightly, I no longer need it for scanning food.

The talking watch: I used it when I didn’t have my iPhone and iPad. It was useful to check the time when I was feeding Archer during the night. Nowadays I just use my phone or iPad to tell the time.

Talking kitchen scales: I still love cooking and experimenting with new recipes in the kitchen. I use e-books to find new recipes and use the voice over on my iPad to read them out to me. The talking kitchen scales are especially useful in weighing ingredients. 

Binoculars: I have these on loan from Vision Australia. I use them to read Archer his books. I tend to use the magnifying app on my smartphone a lot more now.

Talking baby thermometer: I use this to check Archer’s temperature if he is not feeling well.

There are many other gadgets available that you can check out at the Vision Australia online store.

Like most people I’m also heavily reliant on my smartphone. There are a range of iOS and Android applications to help the vision impaired with their everyday tasks and obstacles. I use a few applications to help me read things. Here are a few:

Text grabber: This application converts text to speech. I use it to take photos of bills, letters and recipes so that it can dictate them out to me.

Seeing assistant magnifier: This application uses the phone’s camera to zoom in on things. I use it to read Archer his books, recipes and on the computer screen when the voice-over is playing up.

Voice dream reader: This application is similar to iBooks. It is compatible with voice-over. I use it to read e-books and documents.

Inspector: This application uses the camera to identify the colours of objects. I used this when I first got out of surgery when dressing myself and Archer. Now that I can see colour, I don’t need to use this app anymore.

Parts of this blog were first published at 

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About the Author

Sarah Hocking

Sarah Hocking is a 28-year-old mum who recently became legally blind after the birth of her first child Archer. She blogs at about her road to independence and overcoming the challenges she faces in everyday tasks as a blind mother.View author's posts
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