Visually impaired people have limitations when it comes to experiencing a smartphone. Even more limited is their ability to use the many different useful apps available. Maps have become a vital part of most smartphone models, and that is something that has created a revolution within GPS navigation technology. Now everyone can enjoy what it’s like to almost never get lost when traveling, except the visually impaired. A new iPhone accessory aims to make braille maps available for visually impaired iPhone users.
The people over at Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design have come up with an iPhone accessory that enables blind people to use maps as well. It’s a really nifty iPhone add-on that could really change the way visually impaired people find their way around cities. The braille device works in real time and continuously updates the route on the braille device.
The device is connected to the iPhone either directly or via Bluetooth, so the visually impaired don’t have to walk around with the iPhone in their hand as well. The concept was “dreamed up” during a 36-hour creative brainstorming project, and it is called Blind Maps. The device doesn’t only guide them to their desired destination, but it also listens to the environment to make sure people don’t end up in the wrong place or in trouble.
So far the project is just in a concept stage, but if and once realized, this project could mean increased freedom for anyone who’s visually impaired. The braille map device itself is a basic dynamic braille construction, and with the right technology under its hood, it could change braille maps forever. The masterminds behind this braille map device are Andrew Spitz, Markus Schmeiduch and Ruben van der Vleuten. I hope they fulfill the idea and make it into a widespread success. Braille map devices are not exactly a common technology, and that is exactly the reason why they should make sure this braille map device gets realized.