UPDATE: For the next 24 hours, I have made Voice $1.99. After that, it will return to its original price of $4.99. For those who have already purchased, all updates are free. Tell everyone to download this so they can get it at the sale price!
For those of you who don’t know me, I’m Shalin Shah, an undergraduate student studying computer science at UC Berkeley. I am the developer of the application Voice OCR Document Reader on the iOS App Store (https://apps.apple.com/us/app/voice-ocr-document-reader/id903772588).
My journey with the low-vision community started when I was 15, after creating and launching the first version of Voice. At the time, Voice was the only 100% free OCR application built with VoiceOver. However, I was just learning to code at the time, so there were many bugs in the app and it crashed a lot. As time went by, I stopped updating it and sort of lost touch with the community I had worked so hard to build with this product.
Last summer, I decided to rekindle that community by launching a fresh upgrade to the application. I had a lot of fun being able to use the programming I learned in college to create a better version of Voice. The response from this community was overwhelmingly positive and has inspired me to keep going. So I’ve been working hard the past few months to build something better than all the previous versions of Voice combined. I have some exciting news for you guys.
I would like to introduce Voice 5.0! Voice 5.0 was crafted from scratch using a fresh new technical stack, that’s built to perform with precision and reliability.
The OCR quality has never been better, even on images with really bad lighting, horrible focus, and messy handwritten text. To put the icing on the cake, our field of view detector is more accurate than ever, giving you feedback whenever it sees a document.
Voice has 180 new text-to-speech reading voices that are simply gorgeous. You won’t find higher quality voices than these on any application on the planet, period. They harness the power of cutting-edge artificial intelligence and contain pitch-perfect intonations for more than 50 languages.
Finally, Voice is entirely hands-free. There are a fresh set of commands that make it easier than ever to control Voice with just your words! In addition to saying things like “capture” and “read”, you can now say things like “voice pause”, “voice play”, “voice restart“, and “go back” while Voice is reading your document. And when you don’t want to talk to Voice, we’ve included a polished, revolutionary user interface upgrade with a new standard — no more than 4 buttons per screen. Crafted with VoiceOver, you simply cannot find another interface that is this simple to use.
Additionally, in order to get access to the 180 premium quality reading voices, you will need to subscribe to Voice Pro, which is a monthly subscription costing $4.99 a month. I wish I could make this free for everyone, but powering the server to constantly improve the AI voices is super costly, especially as a solo developer. I still wanted to provide this functionality for the power users who might really need this, so I’ve built it as a subscription. But you can still get access to standard quality voices in over 30 languages without the subscription.
With that being said, there are still many improvements I will be making to version 5.0 in the next few days.
Here’s what’s on my To-do list so far:
1. Make the scanning speed significantly faster.
2. Adding Offline OCR for the first time ever
3. Add a feature to import PDFs found on safari to Voice OCR.
4. Exporting as a PDF should be fully accessible, right now it just exports the Raw Image.
5. Create an instruction manual and video that is accessible and teaches people how to use Voice, with the full set of voice commands.
If you guys use the application and have any feedback, PLEASE comment below or send it my way at firstname.lastname@example.org. All ideas are super welcome, and I would love to incorporate the community feedback into the app over the next few days.
Here is the link to the app on the iTunes App Store: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/voice-take-picture-have-it/id903772588?mt=8
Lastly, if the product is useful for you, it would mean the world to me if you could write a quick review on the App Store and share this with your friends. It’s the community feedback that really helps me continue to maintain this.
Anyway, feel free to reach out! I will respond to all emails very quickly. Thank you all for your time.