Dozens of new smartphone apps are being developed to assist blind people in their daily lives, including a new app developed by Pakistani researchers from the Federal Urdu University of Arts, Science and Technology in Karachi, Pakistan. They published details about their smartphone app in the International Journal Mobile Learning and Organisation.

The researchers wanted to find a app that would help people deal with nyctalopia, or night blindness, which affects millions. Though it is not a disorder in and of itself, it often has underlying causes such as glaucoma medications, nearsightedness or cataracts. People with nyctalopia are far more likely to be at risk of an injury or accident at night, because it is nearly impossible for them to see in low-light environments.

The smartphone app developed by Kamran Ahsan, Obaid Khan and Abdul Salam of Federal Urdu University will allow people afflicted with nyctalopia the chance to feel safer if they are caught in the dark, whether in their home city or in a new city. The phone will keep track of where they walk, the number of daylight hours available, and it can estimate how long it will take for them to return to their desired destination.

The app is geo-aware, meaning it knows the time of sunset around the globe. It also can provide online mapping software which could shortcut routes back to their homes.

Though it may be the first to treat specifically night blindness, the app is not the first with the goal to assist those who are visually-impaired. As iPhones and other smartphones have become increasingly popular, researchers and developers have been working on a variety of new apps that can assist visually-impaired people - even those who are color blind.

LookTel Money Reader

In the past, blind people have had to ask strangers to identify paper money, since they are indistinguishable by touch. LookTel Money Reader by IPPLEX solves this predicament by scanning and announcing the denomination of each paper bill. The developer is working on expanding this app to reading labels as well.

Color ID Free

An app that describes the world around you could open up new possibilities to those who have had to rely on others to explain sights to them. Color ID Free announces the color of an object and can identify subtle differences in hue, noting descriptively which are "fresh apricot" or "pale green yellow."

Taxi Magic

Taxi Magic, meanwhile, is for those who want to "order" a taxi and know its exact location as it approaches. It also tracks taxi expenses and provides the ability to pay for taxi fare in advance.

ColorBlindness SimulateCorrect

If you are colorblind, or if you simply want to see what things look like if you're colorblind, this app might change how you view the world. It simulates and adjusts colorblindness in real-time using the phone camera. Users can compare red, green, or blue colorblindness with normal vision.

Ariadne GPS

Perhaps the most useful for blind people exploring a new area on their own, Ariadne GPS, which works anywhere that Google Maps are available, provides talking maps and vibrating signals when crossing roads. One of its features announces stops on buses or trains so that public transportation is no longer as complicated for those who are visually-impaired.