The Blind May Be Able to Navigate Indoors More Efficiently Using a New SmartPhone App

Navigating indoors can be tedious for persons who are visually-impaired, and for the blind. It would often mean having to ask for a lot of directions. However, this can be changed with the help of new SmartPhone application that was developed by a couple of engineers from the Universityof Nevada, Reno. The application is a system called Navatar.

What makes this system appealing is that it does not need some type of special hardware, rather, it only makes use of the building’s 3D map, which can be created by the SketchUp program of Google. In fact, this map can even be created from old records.

There are actually other navigation systems that have been created, but most of them make use of devices such as cameras or beacons in order to function properly. But with the case of Navatar, there is no need to worry about such things.

Another excellent feature of this system is that it does not make use of wireless signals. This means that it is safe to be used in places where these signals are not very welcome. Places such as hospitals can make use of this application in order to help the blind navigate through corners and corridors.

In order to make use of Navatar, all that the user needs to do is to put in two types of location, the first is their starting point and the second one is their destination. Once these data is entered, the system will provide the user detailed directions, turn-by-turn, until it reaches its destination. It counts the number of footsteps that would be necessary and it is also able to detect the changes in orientation, providing it a rough perspective with regards to the location of the user inside the premises of the building.

Through the sensors that are in the phone, along with the map data, they will be able to locate a user up to approximately six feet. This data is actually regarded as more than precise in detecting the location of the user. By directing the user, and also relying on the individual’s ability to feel his surroundings, the system can ideally help individuals with problems with their vision to make their way through the interiors of a building. In fact, the application can be very useful in other situations such as when a fireman is trying to navigate his way around a smoky building. Other possible applications include making one’s way through a large and unfamiliar airport.