It's not often that the mainstream tech press covers ways in which destinations and cities can use technology to ease navigation challenges for the visually impaired. A group of students have tackled this challenge head-on with a technology called Wayfindr.
The way it works is quite simple: Bluetooth iBeacons and the smartphone's location are used in concert to deliver turn-by-turn audio directions for journeys on the public transportation system. The directions are determined by trilateration or using the various inputs to judge distances via the radius of surrounding circles.
The directions are then relayed to the traveler via bone-conducting earphones that allow sound waves to be conveyed via vibrations through the user's skull.
The group of London students is part of the Youth Forum of the Royal London Society for Blind People, and worked with global design studio ustwo to specifically build a solution for 9,000 vision impaired youth in that city.
The group built a layer of sixteen iBeacons at one station, Pimlico, where the trial has just wrapped up. The test deployment will allow the team to analyze what worked and what didn't with the hope that the technology could be deployed across the city — and perhaps even the country.
Read more about the design process behind the project here.