Guide Dots

VML / Y&R Singapore / UDKU

Currently, there are more than 285 million visually impaired people worldwide. While they can go from place to place, they have no awareness of what’s passed on the way. Guide dogs help, but they are trained to avoid obstacles, not find new places. To solve this, we developed a solution that combined smartphone accessibility with a global database of location information.

The result was Guide Dots, an audio guide that users interact with via Android’s “explore by touch” functionality. With one tap, a button is read aloud; double-tapping then activates the last button the user heard, providing a user experience optimized for the visually impaired.  This free app uses location data from Google Places and Facebook Nearby with proprietary crowd-sourced GPS locations.

Guide Dots calls out locations and intersections, finds friends who have checked in nearby, and informs users about special offers. First developed in Beta Guide Dots has been fully built out and launched on Android, where it could help the most people because of the platform’s greater global download rate and lower hardware costs.  Developers built Guide Dots through the Android Studio with Java. To ensure the app worked globally, developers tapped into GPS data from the Google Maps API, Facebook Nearby API, GeoNames API and Beacon technology. Additionally, the app uses Android capabilities for speech synthesis, voice recognition and accessibility.

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