visorApps Netzwerk > visorApps > Accessible Audio Navigation System for People Who Are Blind or Partially Sighted

It combines the BlindFind smartphone app, developed by visorApps for iOS and Android, with visorBoxes installed throughout a building. It not only lets visitors request helpful audio information on how to get their bearings and navigate inside a building, but also assists them in locating important landmarks such as offices, bathrooms, lifts or stairs. This helps individuals who are blind or partially sighted to explore public buildings independently.

The BlindFind-App is available for free on the App Store and the Play Store.

How BlindFind works:

visorBoxes – recognised by smartphone via Bluetooth

Sketch of an interior space from above. A man is entering a room. He is using a cane and holding a smartphone in his hand. In the room, there are an information desk and a cloakroom. Along the walls, there are doors to a lift and to several bathrooms; one for men, one for ladies, and one for people with a disability. Each of these landmarks is equipped with a visorBox. The right-hand side of the picture shows a smartphone running the BlindFind app. Its screen is displaying the names of all the landmarks that have been equipped with visorBoxes, for example “lift”, “cloakroom”, “stairwell”.

In conjunction with the new visorBoxes developed by visorApps, the BlindFind app promotes independent navigation indoors. visorBoxes are installed at important landmarks. As soon as they are activated via the BlindFind app, they will play a tone or message. Furthermore, additional information such as opening hours, etc., will be displayed on the smartphone.

Selecting a destination in BlindFind

Sketch of the same interior space as shown above. The man is selecting “lift” in the BlindFind app on his smartphone. Blue lines between both devices illustrate that the smartphone is connecting to the corresponding visorBox.

First, the app will list all relevant landmarks in a room. The user may then select one of these landmarks on their smartphone. The smartphone will connect to the corresponding visorBox.

Audio message

Sketch of the same interior space as shown in the two figures above. As the man has selected “lift” as his destination, a speech bubble is shown near the visorBox installed above the lift doors. It says “lift”, prompting the man to walk towards the lift. The smartphone is displaying additional information about the lift. This includes more detailed information such as how to proceed from the lift to the final destination or information about adjacent rooms or corridors.

Subsequently, the visorBox will play information the user needs to navigate successfully through its speaker. No other audio navigation system available today is as accurate and as easy to use as BlindFind.

Privacy

While it is running, the BlindFind app will store timestamps and the contents of all visorBoxes appearing in its range. This allows information to be displayed more quickly when the app reconnects to a visorBox and minimises the number of necessary Bluetooth connections. All stored data remains on the device. It cannot be accessed by visorApps. Stored data may be transferred to the internet and onto other devices when the user backs up their device. Such processes are outside the control of visorApps; instead, privacy terms of the device manufacturer, the operating system provider or the backup service provider shall apply.

The BlindFind app and visorBoxes exchange data locally via Bluetooth and do not connect to the internet in the process. When connected to the BlindFind app, visorBoxes do not store any data concerning the identity of the user or the user’s device. They merely store the number of connections established within in a certain period of time to understand general frequency of use.

Operators of visorBoxes may, at their discretion, supply additional links to websites or servers for extra information. After activating one of these links within the BlindFind app, the user may be tracked via the resulting external connection. Such operations are outside the control of visorApps; instead, the privacy terms of the owner or operator of the external site or server shall apply.

Icon: Funded by the Economic Development Office of the state capital of Saxony, Dresden

Development of visorBoxes and BlindFind app has been funded by the Economic Development Office of the state capital of Saxony, Dresden.