Accessible Environmental Information Application for Individuals with Visual Impairments

This project, funded by NIDILRR’s Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) Phase II program, is developing a scalable Accessible Environmental Information Application (AEI) with seamless outdoor to indoor navigation and a unified beacon database for people with visual disabilities. This application provides indoor orientation information to assist and navigating indoor public spaces including malls, airports, conference venues and baseball stadiums. This project is expanding existing outdoor navigation systems with this AEI that provides orientation and location information indoors where GPS is unavailable.

Project Goals and Outcomes

  1. Evaluate the leading indoor navigation techniques to assess synergistic technological capabilities.
  2. Continue development of the AEI application to incorporate Phase 1 feedback and refine interface
  3. Conduct user needs survey to gather information about challenges, barriers, technology, access to information, and general user needs for independently navigating indoor facilities. We recorded the perceptions of hundreds of Legally Blind Adults and presented on our findings at the AER International Conference .
  4. Incorporate additional third party beacon databases: OSM indoor beacons, Wichita Transit beacons.
  5. Create an open source beacon sharing standard and database. With the help of project partner, Radius Netowrks, we have created a shared beacon database with close to 500,000 beacons stored that also allows you to upload your beacon data, called Ningo. Visit the shared beacon database Ningo webpage for more information.
  6. Analyze the success of the developed application in real world situations. We have conducted user testing at the Chicago Lighthouse for the Blind and at NFB's Jernigan Institute in Baltimore, MD. Results to be published soon.

Key Personnel

Paul Ponchillia, Principal Investigator

Sheri Harding Project Manager and Chief Financial Officer

Kimberly Casey CEO Sendero Group

Charles LaPierre, CTO

Michael May, Advisor

Chris Grabowski, Staff Tester

Sarper Sılaoğlu LoudSteps Boni

Paul Colgan LoudSteps Boni

Ilkka Pirttimaa BlindSquare Developer

Bernd Gruber President

David Helms Radius Networks

David Young Radius Networks, WikiBeacons developer

Luke Scriven, Chicago Lighthouse for the Blind

Anil Lewis, MPA, Executive Director, NFB Jernigan Institute

Bryan Bashin CEO LightHouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired in San Francisco

Events Schedule

M-Enabling Summit June 11 - 13, Arlington, VA. We will be participating on the panel "Indoor Navigation and Remote Visual Support Services" on Tuesday June 12 from 11:00AM - 12:15PM in Studio A.

AER International Conference 2018 July 25 - 29, Reno, NV. We will be presenting "Developing an Accessible Indoor Navigation Application: Perceptions of 785 Legally Blind adults" on Saturday July 28 from 10:00 - 11:00AM in Naples 6.

Envision Convention 2018, August 22-25, Wichita, KS. We will be presenting "The Future of Indoor Navigation for the Visually Impaired is Now!"

Presentations and Media

Survey Results Presentation

Accessible Audio Indoor Navigation February 9, Vancouver, Canada.

Loud Steps featured on NewsWatch TV.

Technology Review

Blindsqaure Analysis KT to Implementation to Outcomes