Łódź you believe it! Students invent amazing app to help the blind
A smartphone in their hand and a voice command can be enough to help visually impaired people navigate unknown locations, thanks to an app created by students from the Łódź University of Technology.
Challenged to design a smart solution for people with disabilities as a project for the Problem Based Learning (PBL) class, the four students from the Biomedical Engineering Faculty chose to focus on the needs of the blind.
Zofia Durys, Natalia Jędrzejczak, Ferdnando Espinosa and Michał Żołdak spoke to visually impaired people and conducted an online questionnaire to choose an issue on which to focus – moving around unknown spaces and venues.
Zofia Durys from the International Faculty of Engineering of the Łódź University of Technology explained: “Our solution doesn’t require reconstructing the building, only the knowledge of its plan and beacons installation, which is both easy and cheap.
“We designed an easy interface with high colour contrast and voice signals, to adapt the app to the needs of blind and visually impaired users.”
The solution requires a smartphone, the app and beacons - small transmitters located within the buildings, which connect with the users’ smartphones.
Natalia Jędrzejczak, one of the students who designed the app, explained: “We decided to create an easy to use navigation for the interior of buildings, allowing full self-reliance in reaching the destination. The navigational software communicates with beacons places around the venue and informs about the route.”
The user of the navigation device indicates the point they want to reach, by voice or written command. After setting the shortest route, the smartphone delivers pointers on how to get to the final point.
According to Jędrzejczak, the right location and configuration of beacons will ensure precise guidance.
“The disabled will have more freedom and autonomy to move around buildings. I hope we will interest international companies in this app, so that they will introduce such solutions for the disabled,” she added.