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Novartis launches new ViaOpta apps for visually impaired

Swiss giant Novartis Pharmaceuticals has launched ViaOpta apps with additional features for use with the Apple Watch and other smart watches.

HQ Novartis

The applications, available as ViaOpta Navigation and ViaOpta Daily, offer the benefits of discreet, hands-free usage with wearable devices and can be seamlessly integrated to ease the daily operations of visually impaired individuals.

Previous versions of the applications were only compatible with iPhone and Android mobile phones.

The new ViaOpta Navigation is equipped with features to navigate nearby Points of Interest and can offer ‘Extended Map Coverage’.

The improved ViaOpta Daily comes along with additional features including ‘New Object Recognizer’ and ‘Scene Recognizer’.

Smartphone version of these patient applications had already been downloaded over 6,700 times within two months after its initial launch.

Besides offering innovation and real-life impact, the apps enable their users to retain and in some cases, even regain their independence.

Equipped with voice guidance and vibration settings, the apps facilitate step-by-step navigation and can assist in recognition of everyday items such as money, colors, objects and people.

European Forum Against Blindness (EFAB) chairperson Ian Banks said: "With the help of ViaOpta apps, people with impaired vision can do things such as walk to a nearby cafĂ©, go to the pharmacy, and pick up their grandchildren at the kindergarten – helping to increase confidence and independence and maintaining discretion."

The ViaOpta apps are currently available in several languages including English, German, French, Spanish, Arabic, Japanese, Greek, Portuguese, Dutch, Italian and Hungarian.

Image: Novartis headquarters in Basel, Switzerland. Photo: courtesy of Andrew / Wikipedia.