Navigation Apps for Blind Now on Wearable Devices

July 1, 2015
Krystle Vermes

Two apps designed to assist those with visual impairments can now be used hands-free on wearable devices, such as Apple Watch.

Two apps designed to assist those with visual impairments can now be used hands-free on wearable devices, such as Apple Watch.

Novartis’s ViaOpta Nav app uses wearable devices’ vibration and voice guidance settings to alert visually impaired individuals of upcoming intersections and landmarks. Users and their caretakers can also share and access the wearer’s exact location through this app.

The company’s ViaOpta Daily app helps visually impaired individuals navigate unfamiliar environments using the device’s camera and voiceover features. When users point the camera at a desired direction or place, the voiceover identifies what is in front of them.

“With the help of ViaOpta apps, people with impaired vision can do things such as walk to a nearby café, go to the pharmacy, and pick up their grandchildren at the kindergarten — helping to increase confidence and independence and maintaining discretion,” stated Ian Banks, chair of The European Forum Against Blindness.

The apps are available for Apple Watch and Android Wear, as well as smartphones.