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Seeing eye-phone? App helps blind know what they're looking at

Colorado teenager Jake Cohen has a high-tech tool to help him regain some of the independence that he lost when he went blind two years ago.

Jake uses an iPhone app to take photos of objects around the house. Within seconds TapTapSee tells Jake what the picture shows.

He uses it for food, medicine, and some of his favorite things - like sports cards, according to CBS Denver. To ensure that the pictures are clear, the app beeps to tell users when the object is in focus.

"It's given him more options of independence. It helps me so I don't have to get up and help him all the time," said his mother, Mary.

Even without the app, Jake has maintained some of his independence. He's already taught himself to play piano, guitar and drums by ear. He lost vision in his right eye after suffering a stroke when he was 2 years old. Two years ago, he completely lost his vision.

For now, the app is only able to identify objects. But Jake's dad, Dave, hopes it will someday be able to recognize faces.

"Where he can take a picture and it'll say, 'Kathy Walsh walked in the room,'" Dave said.

Other users have hailed the app as incredibly helpful.

"I cannot emphasize enough what an amazing app this is! It works perfectly. I tried it with many different objects, and it recognized all of them. Truly a marvel for blind people," user Blimdy girl wrote in a review.

"This is one tool that no blind person should live without!" wrote iPhoneGeek2.

Available in the Apple App store, TapTapSee earned recognition from the Royal National Institute for the Blind and the AppleVis iOS Hall of Fame in 2013. The first 20 photos are free. After that, there are four payment options, including unlimited use for a $10 monthly fee.

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