New app uses GPS to help blind move around independently

In two years time, the blind will be able to use an app which will help them to navigate their way around much of Singapore on disabled-friendly routes.

Students and lecturers from Ngee Ann Polytechnic have developed the smartphone application that uses Global Positioning System (GPS) technology to map out the shortest path that is safe for them. The app, which guides the user via audio instructions and alarm beeps, also factors in the weather, taking a sheltered route to the destination, if it is raining.

The project, which received $118,000 in funding from the Tote Board, aims to help the blind get around more independently as they often have to rely on passers-by or guide dogs to find their way around. Some visually-handicapped individuals also have a muted social life because of their inability to navigate new and unfamiliar paths.

The group is now in talks with bus companies to include bus routes into the system so that the blind will be alerted to the next bus stop that the bus is approaching in order for them to alight safely.

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