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

blindFind, an audio navigation system based on Bluetooth technology, can make buildings and their surroundings more accessible. It has already been installed in some public buildings of the state capital Dresden, such as the Town Hall and some public swimming pools.

blindFind consists of the blindFind app for iOS or Android as well as blindFind boxes, which can be installed wirelessly. blindFind boxes can play audio information about the surroundings. Users can request this information via the blindFind app on their smartphones. This allows them to find important points of interest such as offices, bathrooms, lifts, and stairs as well as to access information helping them to orient and navigate inside a building. blindFind enables blind and partially sighted people to navigate and locate destinations in unfamiliar buildings independently. blindFind is more user-friendly and more accurate than any other solution, as the users’ smartphones connect to nearby blindFind boxes and allow them to request an audio cue, which users hear from the direction their destination is located in.

The blindFind app is available for free on the App Store and the Play Store.

 

How blindFind works:

The smartphone app recognises blindFind boxes via Bluetooth

In conjunction with the new blindFind boxes developed by visorApps, the blindFind app promotes independent navigation indoors: blindFind boxes 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 app using a screen reader

: 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 blindFind box.

First, the app lists all relevant landmarks in the room. The user may then select one of these landmarks on their smartphone. The smartphone connects to the corresponding blindFind Box.

A tone and a spoken message indicate the location of the destination.

 

Sketch of the same interior space as shown in the two images above. As the man has selected “lift” as his destination, a speech bubble is shown near the blindFind box 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 about the selected destination, its location, and information about adjacent rooms or corridors and how to reach them from the selected location.

Subsequently, the blindFind box will play information the user needs to navigate successfully through its speaker, for example, it might say “lift”.

You can try blindFind at the following locations:

  • Dresdner Rathaus
    Dr.-Külz-Ring 19
    01069 Dresden
  • Begegnungsstätte der Kreisorganisation Dresden im Blinden- und Sehbehindertenverband Sachsen e. V. (BSVS)
    Strehlener Straße 24
    01069 Dresden
  • Stadtbad Sömmerda
    Rohrhammerweg 10
    99610 Sömmerda
  • Schwimmsportkomplex Freiberger Platz
    Freiberger Platz 1a
    01067 Dresden
  • Georg-Arnhold-Bad
    Helmut-Schön-Allee 2
    01069 Dresden
  • Kombibad Prohlis
    Georg-Palitzsch-Straße 50
    01239 Dresden
  • Schwimmhalle Bühlau
    Bautzner Landstraße 92 c
    01324 Dresden
  • Festspielhaus Hellerau (in Vorbereitung)
    Karl-Liebknecht-Str. 56
    01109 Dresden

Privacy

While it is running, the blindFind app will store timestamps and the contents of all blindFind boxes appearing in its range. This allows information to be displayed more quickly when the app reconnects to a blindFind box 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 blindFind boxes exchange data locally via Bluetooth and do not connect to the internet in the process. When connected to the blindFind app, blindFind boxes 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 blindFind boxes 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 blindFind Boxes and blindFind app has been funded by the Economic Development Office of the state capital of Saxony, Dresden.