A new free software program for vision impaired Australians has made computer usage more accessible.

Two blind software engineers are behind the technological advancement which allows users to hear the words as they type them.

Phoebe Baker reports.

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QUT graduate James Teh and business associate Michael Curran have developed a “screen reader” software that is accessible and easy to use.

The free program is designed for anyone with impaired vision.

A synthetic voice reads the words on a computer as the cursor moves over them.

The higher the cursor is up on the screen, the higher pitch beep tone.

Jamie Teh, Blind Computers: “There are other products like this. Other screen readers as we call them, and they’ve existed for quite a while now. But they’re quite expensive, we’re talking potentially up to over a thousand dollars.”

But Mr Teh and Mr Curran’s software is available as a free download.

With six hundred thousand Australians expected to become blind or vision impaired in ten years time, the screen reading software opens up a new world of opportunities, where most work is computer based.

Jamie Teh, Blind Computers: “Being able to access a computer for blind people is incredibly important, given the wealth of information that’s out there. And so it’s really important that something like this be available for free.”

QUT Student Leah SanGabriel says the program has helped her out a lot this year especially without the worry of the cost.

She is now able to browse the internet, check emails, use word and Facebook.

Leah San Gabriel, QUT Student: “I’m really grateful and I’m thankful because I wouldn’t be without it. I wouldn’t be able to study.”

Phoebe Baker, QUT News.