Blind Bargains

The Perkins School for the Blind and Raizlabs Aim to Solve the Last Inch Problem with GPS


Your GPS may tell you that there is a bus stop nearby, but how do you know you're actually standing at the stop and not at a street sign 25 feet away? Thanks to a $750,000 grant from Google, the Perkins School for the Blind has partnered with app developer Raizlabs in an effort to solve this problem.

It's a situation that Raizlabs' Nick Bonatsakis, who is also legally blind, can relate to as he explains in an interview with Boston's WBUR. “I was just walking around in circles,” he recalls. “And had I had something where somebody just said, ‘Look, you know, the entrance to this place is past this mailbox and before this entrance to this other shop,’ that would have been immensely helpful.”

Perkins and Raizlabs aim to offer an app which will provide clues to a traveler in these situations. The app may give clues such as a nearby step, doorway, or grass which could help in someone locating a location like a bus stop in a contextual manner. Those familiar with a location will enter these clues into a database, which will then be available to users of the forthcoming app.

The Perkins School for the Blind was awarded the grant from the Google Impact Challenge: Disabilities program which awarded $20 million in grants to 29 recipients.

The app itself is expected to be released early in 2017.

Source: WBUR
Category: News
Displaying 1 comment.
darknexus Tuesday, 24-May-2016 2:10 PM ET:

A nice idea, however they'll need a dedicated team to do this. Most people, when they need to get somewhere, aren't thinking about or don't have time to enter information in a database. I wonder if they could partner with the Google mapping division or something?


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J.J. Meddaugh is an experienced technology writer and computer enthusiast. He is a graduate of Western Michigan University with a major in telecommunications management and a minor in business. When not writing for Blind Bargains, he enjoys travel, playing the keyboard, and meeting new people.


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