Introducing bviTouch for iOS; explore digital images using touch and sound

iOS & iPadOS

bviTouch lets blind and visually impaired users explore images on screen by providing musical tones to represent the colors under their finger as they move them about the image.

It is newly available on the Apple App store.

It is free, with no advertising or in-app purchasing.

Support web site with further details is:

App Store link:



Submitted by Joseph on Saturday, April 29, 2017

This sounds like a hell of a cool concept. I may check it out for myself.

Submitted by JeffB on Saturday, April 29, 2017

Does this work with all pictures or a predetermined set of pictures?

Submitted by gregg on Saturday, April 29, 2017

it works with all pictures if you allow access to them in the iOS. It does not have a camera function for taking new pictures.

Submitted by JeffB on Sunday, April 30, 2017

I couldn't tell what the colors are. I'm guessing that louder means that the clor is brighter? I had trouble getting a sence of what the picture looked like. I'm going to try again in portrit mode.

Submitted by Jim Misti on Sunday, April 30, 2017

In reply to by JeffB

Thanks for trying the app.

If you haven't tried the tutorial section yet, give it a try. It may answer some of your questions about how to distinguish between the colors and brightness levels.

As you surmised, the volume is used to indicate the relative brightness of each color (red, green, and blue). For a black screen, there would be no volume at all. For a white screen, full volume for all three colors (musical tones).

The pictures are definitely larger in landscape mode, since the pictures more closely align with the size of those screens. It works fine in portrait mode as well, but there is a fair bit of filler (black) space above and below the pictures in portrait mode. If you get to where you try out pictures that were taken independently and placed on your mobile device, and those pictures were taken in portrait mode, then working with them in portrait mode would be the better orientation.

Submitted by zdenek on Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Hello forgive me for being blunt, but what is the app good for? I can not think off any use for it. This is not to say that there isn't one, simply I can not see it. Can you please give me few examples what this app might be good for? Thank you.

First of all, thank you for your thoughtful inquiry.

For those who may not yet have had the opportunity to try the app out, here is a brief
summary of its features and operation:
- The app presents various images, generally photographs, on the mobile device screen.
As the user places their finger on the screen and moves it about, the app responds by
providing musical tones that correspond to the colors under the user's finger.
- There is an extensive tutorial section that explains the operation of the app, and
provides practice in recognizing the musical tones that are generated, and how to
relate them to the colors on screen.
- There is a section of over 150 sample images (photographs) which provide further
opportunities for the user to explore and learn about the technology. Images in this
section cover a wide variety of subjects, with examples such as:
- Nature: sunsets, rainbows, flowers, fall foliage
- Transportation: cars, trucks, aircraft
- Cityscapes and landmarks: New York, Chicago, Washington Monument, Golden Gate bridge
- Iconic landscapes: Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, other national parks
- Animals: Zebra, Giraffe, Eagles
- Astronomy: Sun, Moon, planets, star clusters, nebulae, galaxies
- There is a feature that allows users to load their own photographs that are already on
their mobile device and explore them in the same fashion.
- Besides simply being able to determine the colors within a photograph, users can also
derive hints of textures of objects on screen, as well as the ability to detect edges
of objects and trace their shapes.

It would be presumptuous of me to assert that the technology provides certain defined
benefits, so I will instead list the goals and aspirations that I had when developing it:
- Provide a mechanism by which BVI users can explore the incredibly rich tapestries of
form and color in images of all types.
- Provide a mechanism by which BVI users can get a real sense of the aesthetic beauty of
the visual world.
- Provide a mechanism by which BVI users can satisfy their curiosity about the shape and
colors of objects they hear about in everyday life, and do so at their leisure by
carefully exploring images of the objects.
- Provide a platform that could be the basis for later educational or hobbyist pursuits,
such as:
- Astronomy app that illustrates and discusses all things extraterrestrial
- Math app that illustrates basic and advanced concepts in geometry, algebra, and
- Flowers app that provides a nearly encyclopedic coverage of all manner of flowers
- National Parks app that showcases the wonders of the U.S. National Park system
- Any number of similar subject-matter apps that users may find interesting and useful

It is probably worth noting that this app is NOT intended to replace the many incredibly
useful apps in existence that allow BVI users to get the names of objects in their photos,
provide navigational assistance, or read text that is in photos. Rather than being an app
that has utility for the BVI user on the go, this app is more appropriate for exploration
in the quiet comfort of ones dwelling.

If it is reasonable to characterize the paradigm of the panoply of existing accessibility
apps, and indeed VoiceOver itself, as one in which technology provides spoken descriptions
of the content of images, the bviTouch technology exploits a completely different paradigm,
one in which the user directly interacts with the image and explores its content.

Whether this new paradigm will be found to have value by BVI users is a verdict that awaits.

Again, thanks for the question, and the opportunity to answer.

- Jim Misti

Submitted by zdenek on Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Hello, perhaps now I understand more now. Perhaps I could take a picture or download the picasos art and better understand it? One question for you, would it be possible somehow in future apps to connect the app with the object recognition app such as tap tap sy for instance? Example of such use would be, I take a picture of something with the tap tap sy app, find out that it is a car, now I want to explore the colors of the car. Is it possible to load pictures from the net? That way for instance virtual tour of galery would be accessible, now as I am thinking about it perhaps connect it with safari so one could explore the debth of the color of the pictures or websit? Just a food for thought.

Submitted by zdenek on Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Hello, I guess the subject says it all, can in future releases the app be used in conjuction with the app reader, which allows you to explore the shape of the images by touch? Another food for thought.

Submitted by Jim Misti on Monday, May 8, 2017

I've prepared a few short videos to help answer some of the questions about the app that I have received.
This video introduces the workings of the app and provides several examples of explore-by-touch results with images. It is suitable for review by both sighted and blind/visually impaired users.
This video demonstrates exploration by touch of a number of different image types included in the app.
It is suitable primarily for sighted associates of blind and visually impaired users, for use as examples and a guide to use of the app. (The app itself, of course, is designed for bvi users).

Thanks again for giving the app a try. If any of the AppleVis users think it has merit, it might help others find it if someone added it to the AppleVis App directory (probably the one titled "apps that have been developed specifically for blind or low vision users.")
You may not be aware that developers are not authorized to add apps to the AppleVis lists.

Submitted by david s on Monday, May 8, 2017


Another use for this app would be to determine what color LED or light is on your electronic equipment. For example, is the light on? What color is that light on your router? Is that light blue on your BT device? Etc.

It will take a bit of time since you will need to take a pic. Launch the app and go to the pic and figure it out. But this would be favorable than having to wait for a sighted person.

I haven’t really played around with the app but it sounds very useful.