New indoor navigation app available free for low vision conventions.
LowViz Guide, an indoor navigation app for the visually impaired, was tested this past summer by Macular Degeneration Support (MD Support) at six national and state conventions around the U.S. The purpose of the ambitious pilot project was to test the operation of, and public response to, the organization’s new wayfinding technology.
A team from MD Support mapped, set up portable beacon systems, and provided individual support at no cost to the participating organizations. The app received 1,330 views on the App Store and was downloaded a total of 678 times. Virtually all feedback was enthusiastic.
“I want to sincerely thank you for everything you did to make our wayfinding experience a perfect adventure!” said Michelle Miller, Board member of Guide Dogs for the Blind Alumni Association, “I loved having such a reliable and new tool to navigate the hotel!”
Gene Lozano, 1st VP, California Council of the Blind, said, “Your group’s service contributed to one of the most successful conferences and conventions [our] organization has held in recent times.”
Similar comments were received from the other participating organizations: Americans With Disabilities SW Division, American Council of the Blind, Blinded Veterans Association, and Pennsylvania Council of the Blind. In addition to these organizations, approximately seven additional groups have already requested the service for 2016. A simple application for consideration may be found at www.mdsupport.org/audioguide/application .
According to Dan Roberts, director of MD Support and creator of the app, “We are very pleased about the response we have received, and we are happy to be able to continue providing LowViz Guide at no cost for even more events next year.”
About LowViz Guide
LowViz Guide is a new embodiment of Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) beacon technology. It is similar to GPS, but it is useable indoors, where access to satellites, Internet, and cell service may not be available. With an iPhone or iPad, a visually impaired user can call up audible navigation information delivered via VoiceOver and/or a routing tone.
LowViz Guide is similar to portable Geographic Positioning Systems (GPS) already in wide use for outdoor wayfinding. But new technology is now making it possible for a union of smart phones and BLE beacons to serve that same purpose indoors, where satellites are unable to reach.
Funding for the pilot project was provided by Macular Degeneration Foundation, with further financial consideration by the app’s developer, Indoo.rs.
Find complete information about LowViz Guide at www.mdsupport.org/audioguide