overTHERE

No, not the Jonathan Coulton song, although you can have that too since I’m feeling generous.

This overTHERE is a new free iPhone app designed for blind folks that looks like it might be worth playing with.

overTHERE is a free iPhone app that gives blind pedestrians quick and easy access to accurate location information about businesses and other points of interest in the world. Simply point your phone in a direction to hear what’s “over there,” and audio cues make it easy to quickly and accurately pinpoint exact locations of businesses and addresses.
overTHERE grew out of Smith-Kettlewell’s Virtual Talking Signs project. The app uses an interface based on Talking Signs – a system of infrared transmitters and receivers that Smith-Kettlewell originally developed to make signage accessible for blind pedestrians. The original Talking Signs system allowed the location of a transmitter to be determined by moving the receiver back and forth across the beam of a transmitter until the strongest signal is heard. overTHERE uses a similar interface, offering many of the advantages of Talking Signs, but now the transmitters are Google map pins and the receiver is your iPhone.

The app isn’t meant to be a replacement for Blindsquare or whatever your GPS navigation software of choice is. It’s mostly meant to serve as a demonstration of their technology. But if it works as intended, I can certainly see a use for it alongside apps like those if the poor phone battery can handle it. And yes, I mean poor phone battery in both senses you’re thinking of.

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