AN INNOVATIVE app developed by the University of Alicante for the visually impaired has been implemented at one of the busiest subway stations in New York City.
More than 100 QR-code style markers of the incredible NaviLens system have now been installed at the Jay St-Metrotech station, which serves 12.5 million passengers each year.
Visually impaired users will be trialling the system, alongside others, as part of a ‘living laboratory’ study to help blind people better access public transport.
The codes – which are stuck onto signs, walls and escalators – are readable by smartphone from up to 12m distance.
The fluorescent NaviLens markers are also picked up within 0.03 seconds as a phone’s camera scans the area – a key feature for the visually impaired.
Once a code is picked up using the system’s app, instructions such as ‘3.14 metres, ticket vending area’ are dictated via the smartphone’s microphone effectively serving as an audio guide for the public transport station.
Directions to and from markers are also subsequently dictated.
The system was designed and patented by tech firm Neosistec and the Mobile Vision Laboratory of the University of Alicante (UA).
The markers have already been installed on bus routes in Alicante, while a separate successful project has been implemented in Barcelona’s metro network.