Innovations That Matter

iPhone app taps FourSquare to improve daily life for the blind

Sport & Fitness

BlindSquare is an iOS app that taps FourSquare to improve daily life in general for the visually impaired.

We’ve already seen several apps that aim to assist the blind in specific ways – Navatar for navigation, for instance, and the LookTel Money Reader – but it wasn’t until recently that we came across BlindSquare, an iOS app that taps FourSquare to improve daily life in general for the visually impaired. Created by Finnish MIPSoft, BlindSquare begins by using GPS and a compass to locate the user. From there, it gathers information about the surrounding environment from FourSquare. Based on the details available there, BlindSquare uses high-quality speech synthesis to report the most popular places inside a user-selected radius. “You will hear, for example, what is the most popular café within 200 meters radius, and where is the post office or the library” the app’s makers explain. Users can adjust not just the radius of inclusion but also the type of categories reported. The app can help the user find any place they choose — to hear information about their location including address, nearest crossing, compass direction and the kind of services available there, the user need only shake the device. To check in at a FourSquare location, they simply shake it again. Users can also mark their favorite places for saving to iCloud and syncing across all their devices, or share information about places with their friends. Priced at USD 14.99, BlindSquare is now available in Apple’s App Store with support for multiple languages. App-minded entrepreneurs: how could you help improve daily life for those with other disabilities?



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