Clew, A Possibly Useful App For Indoor Blind Guy Navigation

I certainly don’t want to completely write this Clew app off without having tried it, because I like the idea. But at first look, I’ve already noticed a couple of potential problems.

The video specifically mentions following a sighted friend when recording my route. What if I don’t have one handy? Or what if I run into a temporary, floating obstacle like a janitor that causes me to take a different path that may then be off limits for the same reason when I want to come back? I just feel like if I’m going to be waving my phone around anyway, it would be much more efficient in most cases to use something like Aira or Be My Eyes and have them point things out as I go.

What is Clew?
Clew is an indoor, path tracing navigation app built for blind and visually impaired users. It is designed to remember a location like a seat or a room and assist you to return to that destination after exploring your surrounding environment.

What’s the best way to use Clew?
To ensure that the camera is fully capturing your surroundings, hold the phone in a vertical portrait position with the camera facing away from you while you use Clew. Also, make sure the camera is fairly stable to ensure accurate location tracking.
In what environment does Clew work best?
Clew works best in well lit areas with distinct visual features and few moving objects like crowds and cars. Although Clew can be used outdoors, it is not as accurate in open areas and intense sunlight. Clew works optimally indoors over relatively short distances.


Augmented reality, exemplified by Apple’s ARKit, superimposes virtual elements onto the real world. In this case, we add virtual “keypoints” to navigate you through unknown areas.

What it does
• As you walk to a location, your phone keeps track of its path with a series of virtual crumbs.
• After you get there, your phone simplifies the path to a series of “keypoints” where you made a turn or used a stairway.
• As you navigate back, your phone will give you instructions to each point, in reverse order, until you reach your starting location again.
• You’re now back at your seat, classroom, or restaurant table. Enjoy yourself

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