iPad using adaptive visual assistance to read "Get On The Bus" instructions
Photo from ReBokeh.

A local tech startup is launching an expanded app that offers enhanced features for low vision users.

ReBokeh, a Baltimore-based assistive tech company is launching ReBokeh Plus, an enhanced version of the company’s app that allows users to adjust the appearance of the world around them in order to fit their specific visual needs. The original app was “designed with moderate vision impairment in mind,” states the website, and it creates custom video filters for each unique user to help them see the world according to their needs.

The enhanced app offers additional features for low vision users, “designed to help them navigate the daily challenges of living with low vision,” according to an email from the company. The new features of ReBokeh Plus let users:

  • Gain access to expanded inversion options, including grayscale, inverted grayscale, yellow/black and yellow/blue filters, and more, providing more ways to customize the experience to fit their unique needs.
  • Save adjusted images from the ReBokeh app directly to their camera roll for easy future access (highly requested by current users) and, conversely, upload images to the app for adjustment. 
  • Save 3 “presets,” which they can customize themselves according to their unique visual needs. These presets act as shortcuts for a pre-set combination of image adjustments, and are easily accessible to users whenever they open the app, without the need to reconfigure their settings each time.
  • Upload images to the ReBokeh app, and then make adjustments to those images. This allows users to snap a quick photo of something, and then use ReBokeh to look at it later on, or to improve the accessibility of images shared with them by friends or family.

ReBokeh has users in 96 countries around the world, and before launching the enhanced ReBokeh Plus, the company claims to have made more than 175,000 vision adjustments for users.

Founded in 2019, ReBokeh is the brainchild of founder Rebecca Rosenberg. The website recounts the moment in her life that propelled her into launching the tech startup.

Rosenberg was diagnosed with Oculocutaneous Albinism when she was just a few months old, and throughout her school years she never felt the available assistive technologies met her needs.

“At 17, she walked into the offices of a Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired for what had been called a ‘technology meeting.’ She was directed to a large room filled with devices aimed at assisting college-bound students with visual disabilities. Her options? An enormous, overhead-projector-like textbook enlarger with its own computer screen; effectively a huge digital camera/magnifier, and 3 feet tall, for nearly $5,000 – the alternative? An audio recorder.”

That moment crystalized for her how far behind these technologies were and motivated her to find a solution by creating assistive technology that would adapt to the needs of its users.

The result is ReBokeh, which allows users to adjust the appearance of the world around them, “empowering users to navigate the daily challenges of living with a vision impairment more independently,” reads a letter from the company. Using a smartphone’s or tablet’s camera feed, users overlay customized filters to adjust contrast, color hue, zoom, and lighting based on their needs.

The original ReBokeh app is free, and ReBokeh Plus costs $2.99 per month, or $28 per year.

The app is only available for iPhones and iPads right now, but on the website, people can sign up to join their Android Waitlist.

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