As the mother of a blind child, Rasha Said has one goal - she wants the walls to talk everywhere her son goes.
It has become a reality for a handful of visually impaired Chicagoans who are using the Aware smartphone app and iBeacon technology. Chicago's Lighthouse has installed the smart system in their medical district facility. Mary Abramson, who is blind, said she uses it and loves it. With the app, Abramson can not only locate a destination, she can navigate once she's inside a building.
"Just think about what this means when you're looking for the stairs in the subway or the entrance to the Jewel," Abramson said.
The app works by communicating with a phone's GPS and small devices placed around a facility. It can also guide a user to the vending machine and read what's inside."
The reliability of the information you can get with an app like this means the freedom to move around a lot more and gives us the confidence to move around a lot more than before," Abramson said.
As of right now, the technology is only available now in a limited number of places.
Said created the app after a trip to Disney World with her son where she was acting as a translator, describing all of the sights at the park. She wondered about the possibilities if instead of a human, an app could do the same thing.
Now it is.
Said started a business to install iBeacon technology and pair it with the app, acting as a tour guide for blind visitors.
If you are interested in installing the technology, contact Said here.