Useful app helps the blind navigate around crowded places

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Monday, 4 September 2017 09:30am

A pioneering smartphone accessibility app was recently updated and was designed to help orient and guide blind and vision impaired people through crowded indoor spaces, such as shopping malls, universities and hospitals.

RightHear logo

RightHear logo

The RightHear app was developed by Zikitapp Limited in Israel and is an accessibility solution for the blind and vision impaired that enables users to acquire a better level of independence and orientation within indoor spaces.

It allows users to know where they currently are, get 360° of space orientation by simply pointing the phone to a specific direction, and also provides a ‘calling a local assistant’ feature for further live person-to-person phone-based guidance.

The app was launched with a limited trial in 2015 and was updated to version 2.5.2 in June 2017 to coincide with far more networks getting on board to support the app. In fact, RightHear was developed almost accidentally, as the developers had originally created the technology to be able to offer virtual on-the-spot coupons to shoppers.

Yet as is often the case, the idea grew in scope and they decided to it would be better to pitch it to the venues as a way of making their space accessible to the vision impaired, and help these people by being able to get the infrastructure up first. A classic case of inclusive design that grew bigger than the original vision.

The app is free for users, while RightHear charges venues a fee based on the number of access spots that are deployed. At the moment there are dozens of participating venues in the U.S.A., France, Austria and Israel, with many more regions to get the app infrastructure soon, including cities in South EastAsia and Australia.

There’s a helpful video that explains how RightHear works and what it offers users. You can get the RightHear app from the iTunes store and is fully accessible for VoiceOver users. It requires iOS 8.0 or later and is compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. RightHear is also available on Android and is fully accessible for TalkBack users.


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