Smart home devices have been described as being life-changing for the blind and visually impaired. The features of these devices were not designed specifically with the blind and visually impaired in mind, but they have ended up offering countless advantages for the community.

Not sure how your smart home device can help you though? Here are five of the best uses for Smart Home Devices to serve as assistive technology for the blind and visually impaired.

  1. Stay up on the news

Get your smart home device to read the news to you each morning, many times for free. Newspapers such as the Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, and USA Today offer free podcasts, daily briefings, and news reports that can be prompted simply by asking “Alexa, open the Los Angeles Times,” for example.

  1. Set a timer

The timer feature of smart home devices are incredible for the blind and visually impaired while cooking, or during any activity where a timer comes in handy. For example, need to a set a timer to cook something for 10 minutes, simply ask “Alexa, set a timer for ten minutes.”

  1. Play music

Being able to ask a smart home device to play a favorite song, artist, or album and having the device broadcast it in one, simple vocal command eliminates a number of the steps that can make playing music more difficult for the blind and visually impaired.

  1. Maintaining a calendar

A voice-commanded digital calendar can simplify planning for the blind and visually impaired. Smart home users can ask their device what’s on their schedule today and their device will read out their day to them.

  1. Grocery shopping

There are a number of helpful apps for buying groceries and getting food delivered, but smart home devices such as Alexa also have their own built-in features that can make grocery shopping easier. A feature like Alexa’s Peapod allows users who are blind and visually impaired to order groceries by just saying what they need.

The Braille Institute is offering multiple free smart home device-related workshops throughout the month of January as part of the organization’s Technology Month. These hands-on workshops are great support for assistive technology for the blind and visually impaired, whether you just got a smart home device and want to know how to set it up, or if you’ve had one for a while now and want to unlock new tips and tricks.

Find a workshop near you and register today. 1-800-BRAILLE (272-4553)

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