Blindsquare is an application for blind and visually impaired people. The app uses open data and a speech synthesizer so it can tell the user about places around them. It will tell the user the name of the street in which they are walking and names of the intersections the pass. Before this app blind people needed to count the intersections they are crossing to find the way to their destination.
The app is not a replacement for the white cane or guide dog but an addition which makes the environment of the user more visible. One user said “with Blindsquare streets got names”.
Other features of the app include information about historical places, the number of the bus that is arriving, locations of restaurants and shops and it can even tell the user when an electric car passes by as they can’t hear that coming. With the use of Apple IBeacons it is possible to find directions inside places, for example shopping malls.
See this video for an explanation of how it works for the user
The app was created by Ilkka Pirttimaa from Helsinki Finland, an application developer. To develop his app he uses information from his community. 70 blind people from 20 different countries provide him with feedback and Ilkka uses this information to improve his app. Not only does his community provide practical information but he also gets a lot of positive reactions from the them as they say Blindsquare changed their life’s completely. One remarkable story comes from a user who visited a swimming pool. Users of the app ‘Foursquare’ added all the locations and names of the slides. Blindsquare uses this information and now the user could find all the attractions inside the waterpark.
Watch the full interview with Ilkka Pirttimaa:
Watch the short explainer video about Blindsquare: