Inventures: El Dorado Hills startup creates app for blind users

5:56 AM, Nov 29, 2013   |    comments
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Cell Phones (Photo: Getty Images)

EL DORADO HILLS, Calif. - A local startup has created a free game app completely accessible to the blind community.

"Dice World" is VoiceOver enabled, which is screen reading software for iPhones and iPads.

With a quick touch of the screen, the app allows the visually impaired the ability to access digital data and navigate the internet.

"I play everyday," Thomas Domville said.

Domville lost his sight eight years ago because of a medical condition called Usher syndrome. So VoiceOver enabled games mean a lot to him.

"This was something that was so extraordinary, I felt like my childhood was brought back to me," Domville explained.

Domville tests the app for El Dorado Hills Based Saddle, LLC, which was created by Jeff Gebo and Nick Barbato. They're software developers and friends turned co-founders of the start up.

When they first made the game, they didn't know it was benefiting the blind community.

"Somebody said 'hey, thank you for making this voice over enabled for the blind community'," Gebo recounted. "First thing that went through our head, this could be our niche."

So, they went to work to make sure it was completely accessible to the blind.

"I would say 25 percent of our users are blind right now but you'd never know it," Barbato said. "You can pick up our game and play. Odds are you're going to be playing a blind person."

There are four dice games built into the app - "Farkle, Yatzy, Balut, and Pig." All are turn based, multi-player games.

"What makes it so exciting," Domville said. "It's not just other visually impaired people can play, but I can play with my wife, my kids, my mom."

But it's more than just a game for Domville

"I want to be equal with everybody else," Domville added.

And it's turned out to be more than just business for the creators.

"We've spent a lot of time doing this, but it's paid back way more than money," Gebo said.

They're now working on an android version of the app.

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