BlindSquare founder, Ilkka Pirttimaa, once browsed over Wikipedia’s Augmented Reality article and realized the concept focused solely on vision. Pirttimma believed the concept could expand to audio; thus, the idea for BlindSquare was born. The BlindSquare app provides “a new solution that combines the latest technology to help the daily life of the blind.” BlindSquare pulls data from the FourSquare API and alerts users of restaurants, stores, and other locations surrounding them via audio instructions.
At only $16 to download, BlindSquare offers the visually impaired a tool that could ease every day barriers and grant new independence. According to the World Health Organization, 285 million people around the world endure visual impairment (39 million are blind and 246 have low vision). Apple has recognized this market and developed the the most user friendly smartphone for the blind community. Accordingly, BlindSquare started with iOS but has plans to expand in the future.
BlindSquare uses the FourSquare API for location data. Currently, BlindSquare translates into 9 languages but has the ability to increase the number to 26. Future enhancements on the table include expanded translation, functionality aimed at tourists, and user suggestions based on previous FourSquare checkins.
Smartphone apps that run on a device with a single physical button might not seem obvious. However, BlindSquare has shown that the ability to serve the visually impaired community is possible and in demand. Bringing aids like BlindSquare to the smartphone app world should challenge more expensive GPS devices targeted at the visually impaired. Those interested in the app can visit the homepage or download the app.