App Will Help People Who are Blind, Visually Impaired Navigate Streets

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Researchers at the University of Minnesota are developing an app that would assist people who are blind and visually-impaired cross the street, informing users which direction they’re going, and how many lanes they have to cross. The app will tell users the name of a street when they tap the phone and points in it the direction of the street. Users could request a walk signal by tapping the phone again, instead of having to find a button located near the intersection. The app will then tell the users when it is safe to cross, and how long they have to get to the other side.

Universal Design (UD) is an approach to design that increases the potential for developing a better quality of life for a wide range of individuals. It is a design process that enables and empowers a diverse population by improving human performance, health and wellness, and social participation (Steinfeld and Maisel, 2012). It creates products, systems, and environments to be as usable as possible by as many people as possible regardless of age, ability or situation.