The iBeacon hardware uses the Bluetooth Low Power protocol technology to emit radio signals to nearby smartphones and is used by the audible wayfinding app, AWARE, for the visually impaired.
The AWARE wayfinding app for the visually impaired grew out of necessity for Rasha Said, founder of Sensible Innovations in Springfield. Said, who has a background in computer science, finance and business administration, devised a pilot program for her son through a partnership with Glenwood High School in Chatham. Beacons — so called “Smart Landmarks” — installed throughout the school communicate location to the smartphone user through audio cues.
Two years after starting the Glenwood pilot project, Sensible Innovation systems have been installed in a New York transit system, a social service agency in Chicago and a Springfield school for the visually impaired. The company’s AWARE app was recognized last week at the Consumer Electronics Show in New York. The system will be showcased at the annual Consumer Electronic Show in Las Vegas.
Said’s inspiration began with a trip to Disney World with her son, whose condition has resulted in a gradual loss of vision. The need to explain scenery and sounds the rest of the family experienced led to experiments with audio, wayfinding apps and beacons.
From the developer:
Introducing a mobile app to help visually impaired explore their surroundings independently!
The AWARE app works with Sensible Innovations Electronic Stickers, to provide indoor directions and descriptions crafted with a visually impaired focus. The AWARE app is built with large fonts and high contrast or a Braille display for those who prefer to read, and is completely audible for non-visual users. The audible function is also handy for anyone who wants to receive locations specific information without having to look or swipe a smart phone screen.
Explore new places at your own time and pace!
Embrace the ability to explore your surroundings independently when Aware recites landmarks as you pass them by and never get lost again!
Location awareness crafted with visually impaired focus!
Get more information and detailed description about your location and get real-time promotions and special offers that are announced when and where it’s relevant .
Never get lost again!
Navigate public buildings with confidence. All you need is to speak to Aware. Aware has a speech recognition function and will guide you to your destination by giving you an audio turn-by-turn directions. The Aware system can detect when you are going the wrong route and will adjust your route accordingly. It has a built in navigation algorithm that works like GPS system, only beyond!
Please Note: Continued use of GPS running in the background can dramatically decrease battery life