When you are blind or in part sighted, regular tasks can gift a task, not least of all locating your way around the city. Things inclusive of finding the price tag gadget in a railway station or knowing if your bus has just pulled into the bus prevent can be problematic or maybe impossible to do without assistance. But due to the fact 2018, brightly colored tags were stoning up in Barcelona, and more recently in other Spanish towns to simplify navigation for individuals who are blind and partially sighted.
Paired with a cellular smartphone, they are part of a machine known as NaviLens evolved with the aid of the Mobile Vision Research Lab at the University of Alicante and the era organization, Neosistec. Designed to be used alongside traditional sight aides which include canes and guide dogs, NaviLens objectives to assist visually impaired human beings to feel extra impartial when transferring across the metropolis.
Following the pilot on a small phase of the delivery network, Barcelona is extending the NaviLens system to its 2,400 bus stops and 159 metro stations as part of broader efforts to make the town’s transport network handier. In 2019, public transit in Madrid additionally started confined use of the gadget, and it is also available in Murcia metropolis.
Using a loose app and the digicam of their smartphones, customers test their surroundings to locate the tags that are strategically placed in bus stops and metro stations by way of elevators, platforms, stairs, escalators, and price tag machines—everywhere a user desires to take a navigation choice or hear other useful statistics.
The tags, which can be made up of colored squares on a black historical past, provide customers with the form of facts a sighted man or woman could normally take with no consideration. For instance, when coming near a metro station ready with NaviLens, users get admission to the app and keep up their telephones to test for a tag as a way to play an audible message on their tool telling them at how many meters and in which course they’ll find an elevator going down into the station. As they method the elevator, the user is always up to date with their distance from it.
Once inside the station foyer, a user should then wave their phone to brush the environment for a tag that allows them to understand wherein path and how some distance to stroll to attain the price tag vending machines, before scanning the distance again for in addition tags a good way to help them plot a step-by using-step direction thru to the platform they need, just as a sighted person would do by using reading signboards.
Forty-8-12 months-antique Barcelona-resident Juan Nuñez started losing his sight 10 years ago because of an unprecedented, degenerative disease. “Using the metro or bus network have become a large mission. I had to examine the layout of the metro stations by means of coronary heart,” he says.
But an unanticipated change, consisting of a relocated bus forestall is once in a while all it takes to throw a visually impaired person off their memorized direction. A former engineer, Nuñez says he is a fan of recent technologies and now frequently is predicated on a number of cell apps to assist him to get around. “It’s simpler because it offers you the facts you want inside the regions you feel lost. For instance, there are tags on elevators with the intention to inform you if the elevator is damaged or operating,” says Nuñez.
At Madrid’s most important railway station, Atocha, they may be experimenting with using the tags on tactile paving—patterns of textured bumps on the ground that share warnings and facts with visually impaired pedestrians.