CNIB National Braille Conference 2015

CNIB National Braille Conference 2015

Speaker Presentation

CNIB Braille+ Conference
Date: October 29-30, 2015
Topic: Vision Through Digital Communications
Location: Courtyard by Marriott Downtown Toronto – 475 Yonge Street, Toronto, ON M4Y 1X7
Contact:Request Conference Information
Workshop: Session 603, Carlton room, 1:45PM – 2:45PM, Friday, October 30
Description: At this conference you will have the opportunity to participate in a number of sessions hosted by experts in the fields of braille, advocacy, literacy, education and technology. Sessions and panels in this year’s program include; Introduction to the newest ZoomText, wearable technology, sighted parents raising blind kids and the Touch, Feel and See Art Show.
Abstract: Emerging GPS, WayFinding and Crowd-Sourcing technologies are changing our lives, and giving independence and confidence to persons with vision loss. Come learn how BlindSquare and iBeacon services can expand your world with new possibilities. Explore the new frontier through digital communications, and enjoy the freedom of travel as a participant in an increasingly mobile society.

Workshop Objectives:

  1. To gain a greater understanding of the communication needs for blind persons in a highly mobile and digital world.
  2. To gain a greater appreciation of the talents and abilities of blind persons.
  3. To inspire and motivate individuals living with vision loss.
  4. To become an active advocate in bridging the communication divide, by getting emerging technologies into the hands of blind persons.

Important Participant Information

BlindSq Event, by MIPSoft, is a free app available on the Itunes stor
All conference participants are encouraged to use the BlindSq Event iOS App to experience the GeoGuidance while attending the conference. The BlindSq Event app works only at the time and venue of various events, which are for the Blind and Visually Impaired of particular interest.

BlindSquare, by MIPSoft, is a GPS app available on the iTunes Store
BlindSquare is a new solution that combines the latest technology to help the blind with their daily lives. It has been developed in collaboration with blind people and carefully field tested. You need either an iPhone or an iPad to get started. It also supports some additional accessories to enhance the experience. BlindSquare uses GPS and the compass to locate you. It then gathers information about the surrounding environment from FourSquare. BlindSquare has some unique algorithms to decide what information is the most relevant and then speaks it to you with high quality speech synthesis.

Customized Location Information Service (CLIS)
The Customized Location Information Service, developed by MIPsoft, allows organizations to provide customized information about their premises to blind and visually impaired guests, clients, students, or staff who use an iOS-device running BlindSquare or BlindSq Event. Through a simple online interface, organizations can enter GPS coordinates of points of interest and descriptions of these points. BlindSquare can retrieve this information as soon as it is entered or updated and will read it out to the BlindSquare user. The University of Iowa employs CLIS to notify blind students of entrances of buildings, steps, or temporary construction work, when they approach an entrance or an obstacle. If a familiar route is blocked due to road works, it is also possible to suggest an alternative route to the user. Organizations can update or add to the information any time, and BlindSquare will use the new and updated information instantly.

The Orientation and Mobility BlindSquare Project
The BlindSquare app is available to Orientation and Mobility Specialists willing to share their skills by providing data about intersections we analyse. The information provided by OMer's will be loaded into the CLOUD and then made available to all BlindSquare Users. Wouldn’t it be great to be able to know how an intersection works before (from the comfort of our homes) or even at the location! All participants in this new collaborative adventure have either their Masters in OM, OM Interns, or Certified as COMS, or NOMC. All participants will receive credit for their efforts.

BlindSquare LinkedIn – Creating a safer and larger world for blind persons daily
BlindSquare combines the desire to travel with trip planning, travel guidance, route simulation, road maps, transit maps, taxi hailing and much more, at the tip of the blind users fingers. This group connects BlindSquare rabid fans with current information and insights.

BlindSquare International Awards News Releases
CNIB 2015 Winston Gordon Award to MIPSoft for excellence in accessible technology in the development of BlindSquare
MIPsoft wins 2015 Access Award from the American Foundation for the Blind, for commitment to innovation and access for all.
BlindSquare wins as best app in the e-Inclusion and Empowerment category at the World Summit Awards (WSA) World Congress 2013 in Colombo, Sri Lanka.
BlindSquare, an augmented reality app for the blind, developed by MIPsoft, based in Helsinki, Finland, received the 2013 Global Mobile Award as the Best Mobile Health Product or Service at the 18th Mobile World Congress held in Barcelona.

Sponsored By

BlindSquare, by MIPsoft, The World Leading Accessible GPS App
U-R-Able, Accelerating Independence For People Living With Visual Impairments
David Best, Accessibility IT Specialist, Business and Educational Services in Technology

Learning Objectives

  1. The power of information and knowledge (dignity)
  2. The power of wayFinding and mobile technology skills (independence)
  3. The freedom in independent and confident travels (integration)
  4. The joy and rewards in being a community participant (equality)

What Is GPS And WayFinding

Global Trends
We are moving toward a global digital economy by seamlessly integrating machines and people:

  • Machines connected together through a network, provide big data analytics and artificial intelligence, for economic growth, and
  • People connecting together through a vast network, are closing the gap in cultural differences and levels of education.

GeoIntelligent Innovation
We are crossing a new frontier in the evolution of computing and entering the era of cognitive systems. scientists and engineers around the world are pushing the boundaries of science and technology to create machines that sense, learn, reason, and interact with people in new ways to provide insight and advice. Business reports estimate that smart wareables will outpace the smartphone and tablet markets in 2015, and as a recognized global leader in wareable innovations, the Ontario market value of wearables will exceed $6 billion this year.
The blend of new digital signals and the tools to process them create new opportunities for us to rethink the way we approach traditional problems. GeoIntelligent programs can create a new framework for collecting data and shape accessibility strategies in a way that increase confidence and independence. The GeoSpacing concept of the Four Ways Location-Based data model of Foursquare relies on:

  1. Translating signals into value,
  2. Gathering asset intelligence,
  3. Well designed geo-intelligent applications, and
  4. Using place-based thinking to redefine public services.

GeoSpacing, or GeoFencing, is a living evolving hub of information, a convergence of digital and physical worlds. For individuals, this new ability to visualize and understand trends at any location offers a historical and predictive perspective for decision making. Research shows that about 80 percent of smartphone owners use their phones to access location-based information. Mining this data from more than 20 million FourSquare Check-Ins, is being used to redraw neighborhoods in several cities based on Check-In patterns. Branding these areas as LiveHoods, governments are using this information to improve city planning, transportation services and public health surveillance. Private citizens and organizations are encouraged to add information details and build useful apps for government GeoPlatforms.
The parallel for the blind community is obvious, and the Blindsquare app is transforming lives through location intelligence. BlindSquare takes advantage of the rapidly growing GeoSpacing data analysis system services, and is pioneering accessible GPS navigation on iOS using a haptic interface with a dynamic range of user interactions.

What Is BlindSquare

The BlindSquare app is a new solution that combines the latest technology to help the blind with their daily lives. It has been developed in collaboration with blind people and carefully field tested. BlindSquare, an accessible GPS app, is capable of describing the immediate environment and announcing location information, and is currently used in more than 130 countries by more than 13,000 people, in about 25 different languages. BlindSquare integrates social media services like FourSquare data with Apple’s native VoiceOver technology to create a location-based virtual map through sound. Users can enhance the application with recommended accessories; such as braille displays and the Aftershokz bone conduction head set, which leaves users’ ears open to natural sounds. When the app is enabled, it reads addresses, street names and surrounding locations aloud, and directions are available on demand. The BlindSquare was conceptualized and created in 2012 by Finland-based Ilkka Pirttimaa, and he calls it a mashup of GPS technology; speech synthesis, crowdsourced data through FourSquare and augmented reality with audio.

  • has been developed and tested in close cooperation with blind and visually impaired users.
  • is a solution that takes advantage of the latest smart phone features.
  • is pioneering with user interfaces like braille displays and Aftershokz Bluetooth headset.
  • works in conjunction with other navigation apps like Navigon, TomTom, the free Google Maps, and the iOS Maps app installed on the iOS-device.
  • integrates travel services like UBER and Transit iOS apps.
  • is extending the reach of the white cane with iBeacon technology guidance.
  • is providing innovative techniques for orientation and mobility instruction.
  • Eyes On Success – Podcast1544 BlindSquare Navigation App

Open Group Discussion

The Role Of BlindSquare In A Rapidly Changing World:
As we approach the intersection of people and machines, the rapid change in society is having an impact on the way we interact with one another and how we conduct daily life tasks. A paradigm shift in society, driven by miniaturization, cloud sourcing, and wireless mobile devices, is placing greater power in the hands of consumers. However, the ability to use new emerging technologies is currently at the heart of social inclusion, with those excluded being left out of many work, entertainment, communication, healthcare and social benefits. To help create a barrier free society, governments around the world, are implementing accessibility standards based on four core principles; Dignity, Independence, Integration, and Equal opportunity.

    BlindSquare provides:
  1. GPS location information via Open Street Maps, Google and Apple Maps, with directions and wayfinding instructions (Dignity).
  2. Accessible connectivity with crowd sourcing services like FourSquare, and transit services like buses and Uber taxi service (Independence).
  3. Customized Location Information Service (CLIS) for outdoor organizations spaces (Integration).
  4. BlindSquare IBeacon and QRBeacon provide Indoor navigation guidance (Equality).

GPS Wayfinding – Dignity: GPS location information via Open Street Maps, Google and Apple Maps, with directions and wayfinding instructions.
Using BlindSquare to Announce Streets – YouTube
Plan a route using BlindSquare and Maps Apps – YouTube

CrowdSourcing Services – Independence:
Accessible connectivity with crowd sourcing services like FourSquare, and transit services like buses and Uber taxi service.
The BlindSquare app makes use of Foursquare’s 2 billion check-ins worldwide to help blind pedestrians find locations on foot or while using public transportation. The 20 million+ people on Foursquare have created an incredibly detailed crowdsourced directory. The FourSquare framework allows third parties to add information on top of check-in data. For example, if you check-in at a restaurant, a diet-related app might suggest appropriate meals, while a social app could tell you if any of your friends have eaten there, and if they left any comments.

Wayfindr, a UK based organization, empowers vision impaired people across the world to travel independently. Our open standard, built on a foundation of rigorous user research creates a consistent, seamless and reliable experience that dissolves into digital navigation services and the built environment. Creating Inclusive Experiences with Beacons

Customized Location Information Service – Integration:
Customized Location Information Service (CLIS) for outdoor organizations spaces (like universities, parks, trails, and boating clubs), to give specific GPS information about a Point Of Interest (POI). Such as a route between campus buildings, detailed information about a street intersection, and information about the surrounding environment.
Iowa State University, Discovering Campus Through a Different Lens – YouTube
New Technology Helps Visually Impaired Students Navigate Penn State Campus

Indoor Navigation – Equality:
BlindSquare IBeacon and QRBeacon provide Indoor navigation guidance. low power Bluetooth iBeacons are used as digital signposts; Which can be seen at the CNIB national Toronto building. QRBeacons can provide a great deal more information for a specific location. Such as restaurant menus, physical layout of washrooms and other public spaces, and office and mall directories.
Virtual vision” system is a boost for blind independence, By Christopher Reynolds Toronto Star
Navigating the ITIS shopping mall in Helsinki Finland (YouTube)
Electric vehicles, improving results for pedestrians who are blind. – YouTube