Beacon technology image
Credit: Government News

Using innovative technology to gather helpful information about obstacles through audio messages, visually impaired people are able to navigate Melbourne’s Central Business District with ease.

The new technology consists of virtual GPS beacons that are located on different streets throughout the Australian city. These beacons use the BlindSquare phone app to provide useful audio messages to users so that they can easily navigate the city, including the location of obstacles and information about construction works.

Guide Dogs Victoria developed the technology, which is designed to be used in coordination with other mobility aids, such as a cane or guide dog.

Councillor Beverley Pinder, Chair of City of Melbourne’s People City portfolio, says Council has been following the development of beacon technology for a while.

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She told Government News: “We want people of all abilities to feel secure and empowered as they go about their lives in the city – these beacons are an additional resource that supports people with a disability to access our wonderful city.”

The beacons are GPS satellite points that are programmed remotely and are suitable for outdoor spaces. However, Councillor Pinder said that these beacons are not so suitable for indoor use due to GPS signal accuracy, so there are also a number of physical GPS points installed around Melbourne to send location-based messages that the app picks up.

Visually impaired people provided feedback on the new technology to ensure the messages are helpful and relevant. Users can also provide feedback through the app for suggested improvements.

According to Government News, Melbourne would like to roll out the technology to more locations, but wants to ensure the existing beacons are working well for visually impaired people first.

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https://i0.wp.com/thiis.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/Beacon-technology.jpg?fit=780%2C520&ssl=1https://i0.wp.com/thiis.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/Beacon-technology.jpg?resize=150%2C150&ssl=1Sarah SarsbyNewsroomSupplier NewsTrade Newsassistive technology,audio messages,BlindSquare,GPS technology,Guide Dogs Victoria,innovative technology,vision impairments,visually impaired peopleUsing innovative technology to gather helpful information about obstacles through audio messages, visually impaired people are able to navigate Melbourne’s Central Business District with ease. The new technology consists of virtual GPS beacons that are located on different streets throughout the Australian city. These beacons use the BlindSquare phone app...News, views & products for mobility, access and independent living professionals