How London Transport is Using Beacons and Apps to Help the Blind

Wayfindr, which helps the vision-impaired navigate independently, is being trialled at Pimlico station

Young people with vision impairments are using a smartphone app and Bluetooth beacons to better find their way around the London Underground. There is currently a trial underway at Pimlico Tube station to assist blind and partially sighted people to navigate independently.

The Wayfindr system has been developed by ustwo (a studio that develops digital products and services) in response to the Royal London Society for Blind People (RLSB) Youth Forum’s desire to be able to navigate the London Underground without assistance.

The Bluetooth beacons transmit a signal that can be picked up by mobile devices. Wayfindr uses these signals in conjunction with ustwo’s indoor positioning technology to locate the user and provide audible directions in order to guide them through the station. The app is paired with bone conduction earphones that enable the wearer to still hear the sounds around them.

Sixteen beacons have been installed at Pimlico station, where a number of young visually impaired Londoners are testing the app during a month-long trial.

Read more: How London Transport is Using Beacons and Apps to Help the Blind


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