A Beacon of Hope?
Here at The Chicago Lighthouse, we are always excited to try out new technology. When Boni approached us with a desire to install navigation beacon technology here, we jumped at the chance!
Boni is a company from Turkey that has been working on an indoor navigation system to aid those who are blind or have a visual impairment to navigate through unfamiliar spaces. The way they do this is by using small beacons installed in strategic places around buildings which transmit locational data to an app (currently available on iPhone but soon to be available on Android also). Using the app is very simple and allows you to choose a location that you would like to navigate to and have the app tell you the direction and distance you need to travel both audibly and visibly.
Additionally the app will transmit data about your surroundings as you walk around. For example, when you walk into the lobby here at The Chicago Lighthouse, the app will relay the information that you are in the lobby, that the store is to your left, the front desk is in front of you, and the offices are to your right.
This kind of tool can be very useful for navigating new and unfamiliar spaces. The beacons have already been installed in multiple places in Turkey such as shopping malls, and in the tests we have carried out here at The Chicago Lighthouse the navigation technology has proved to be useful to participants as an addition to their cane. In the future, we hope that this technology will be commonplace, helping bring accessibility to people with visual impairments and providing a beacon of hope for equality everywhere.