Perkins School wants to ensure blind and low-vision people don’t miss the bus

April 18, 2016

The Perkins School for the Blind in Watertown, MA, has received a $750,000 grant from Google.org to help make sure blind and low-vision people don’t miss the bus, according to Kristin Toussaint at Boston.com.

She quotes Joann Becker, a technology specialist at the Perkins accessibility and training division, as saying, “GPS on my smartphone gives me approximate information of where I am, and it doesn’t give me any information about physical bus stop locations. I feel a pole with my cane, I think it’s a bus stop, but it turns out it isn’t. There’s no way as a blind person to be able to identify physical bus stops.”

In a video posted at Boston.com, Bill Oats, a vice president at Perkins, says the goal is to use micronavigation, as opposed to wayfinding and GPS, to get you the last 25 or 30 feet to your destination.

Brigitte Gosselink at Google, says, “What Perkins is building has the potential to scale, ultimately making travel more efficient for everyone.”

Toussaint reports that Perkins wants to develop an app that will use crowd-sourced details to bring users within four or five feet (the length of a visually impaired person’s cane) of their destination—thereby solving the “last-30-feet problem.”

Read more at Perkins.org/Bus.

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