Check out this Oct. 22 video of me waiting for the light rail, going inside the car and finding an available seat. While this is done thousands of times each day by blind people all over the world, I doubt anyone has posted it as a YouTube video. As always, constructive feedback is welcome.
Sendero Group offers a $5 iPhone app that aims to help blind people navigate outdoors using their iPhones.
After installing the LookAround app, following these steps makes a great deal of information about the user’s surroundings immediately available.
- Orient the iPhone so that its screen is facing up toward the sky, the back is facing the ground and the power button is facing away from your body.
- Find Sendero GPS on the Home screen and double tap it to launch the app.
- Shake the iPhone to hear the direction you are facing, your address, nearest cross street and closest point of interest.
Enjoy this approximately 36-minute sound-seeing adventure as I get off the bus, check into the bus stop using Foursquare, cross two streets, walk to a shopping center and combine use of the A+ Voice Compass iPhone app with a bit of sighted assistance to locate Supercuts for a long-needed hair cut. It is just one example of the responsible combination of traditional orientation and mobility skills and technology to achieve successful results while traveling as a blind person.
I demonstrated Sendero’s brand-new LookAround GPS application for the iPhone on Jeff Bishop’s Sept. 17 Desert Skies show. It was also heard on ACB Radio’s Main Menu program. I thought it would be nice to share this sound-seeing demo with those of you who may have missed the previous listening opportunities.
Since the recording of this demonstration, Sendero has submitted version 1.1 of LookAround to Apple for approval and posting on the iTunes Store. This update may have fixed some of the concerns that came up in this recording. Stay tuned to Sendero’s LookAround page for the latest information on this app as it becomes available.
Tamas Babinszki reports that he has built a new travel oriented web site that provides information about various points of interest, including hotels, museums and restaurants, from the accessibility perspective of people with disabilities. The CLUEniversal site is organized into a database of clues (Convenient Locations for Universal Enjoyment) contributed directly by users who have firsthand experience visiting the points of interest featured on the site.
Mr. Babinszki writes the following concerning his new project:
I travel quite a bit, and often times I find it very frustrating that when I have a couple of hours between meetings and I plan any activities, I am greatly disappointed, because the sites I visit are not accessible, and I waste the little time I have instead of having done something more interesting. However, you don’t know this until you visit the sites. I could review other sites for user recommendations, but in most of the cases it does not provide enough information for me from the accessibility point of view. For example, a museum can be wonderful, but I would like to know if there is something to touch there or things are behind glass. I would rather pick a less interesting or less famous museum when I know that they have hands-on objects. Also, I’d rather pick a guided tour with many long stops where I have an opportunity to experience the sights, as opposed to a long bus tour where all I have is the tour guide’s explanation, if any.
Therefore, I put together CLUEniversal, a site where people can enter locations, similar to other travel sites. This site, however, is different, because when people enter a new location, they can answer numerous questions about the accessibility of a place. If a restaurant has a Braille menu, if a museum has a guided tour, if the hotel has airport transportation, etc. This way people with disabilities would have a greater chance to find locations which they would enjoy visiting.
This site, however, is not built for people with disabilities only. It is primarily designed for all, this is what I stand for, this is what CLUE’s mean. CLUEniversal: Convenient Locations for Universal Enjoyment.
People can choose which questions they do or do not want to answer. Also, once a location (CLUE) is entered, visitors have an option to provide general, and accessibility related ratings and comments.
This site is totally free. I believe people should have access to such information free of charge. It is, however, optional to register, I would like to provide incentives for people who contribute the most to the database, which requires an e-mail address and a user name, and only the user name is publicly available.
The site is a Beta version. While I have most of the concepts worked out, the database only contains a few items. Also, more categories will be added, together with more questions in order to determine the enjoyment and accessibility level of a location.
As of now, I’m looking for people who are willing to test the site, provide more locations and offer suggestions on how to make this site a more useful experience for them.
This new site is in the early beta stage. It holds tremendous potential to make travel much more enjoyable for those of us whom happen to be blind or visually impaired. Let’s all give him a hand by adding the points of interest we visit on a regular basis.
Absolutely love this post by Dena on Blind Confidential. Karen and I experience all these issues with air travel. Alas, I am also not sure how the problems can be easily resolved, though her suggestions sure are a great place to start. I wonder just how likely it is that anyone is going to listen until something really discriminatory happens that causes a blind person to become stranded and that person is actually willing to raise enough stink about it to prompt positive changes? See BlindConfidential: Traveling Trials and Tribulations