Do we ever stop to think how the visually impaired manage on public transport? How they find their way through busy train and tube stations? A new smartphone app is being developed to do just this.
The Royal London Society of Blind People (RSLB) have partnered with the wayfindr app and a digital design studio called ustwo, to design this app to help blind and visually impaired people, navigate the networks of public transport. The technical side behind this app is really quite simple. Signals from beacons which are placed around the stations or transport terminals and by using Bluetooth technology, emit a pulse which can then be picked up by the smartphone user via audio information, giving directions to make life much easier. The user will wear headphones which will not block out the station announcements but will enable them to hear clear prompts from the app.
The youth forum from RLSB which has members aged between 16-25 came up with this concept as it was apparent that young, visually impaired people, really do struggle on the busy London Underground.
The 'wayfindr' is a very practical and affordable app that any visually impaired person will find useful. It's also proof that charities and the private sector really can work together and make a difference to those that need that extra help in their day to day activities.
Talks of a trial are still being discussed, but with the incredible feedback received about wayfindr, we will need to watch this space!