Resource: COVID-19 Keeping us indoors, with unique opportunities supported by BlindSquare and NaviLens

COVID-19 Keeping us indoors, with unique opportunities supported by BlindSquare and NaviLens.


May 21st is Global Accessibility Awareness Day, focusing on digital access and inclusion for the more than one billion people with disabilities.

Across our globe, the impact of the pandemic is found. Some impacts are led by common sense (avoid exposures, battle all exposures with “be clean” responses), and some by country/local laws restricting travel entirely or by degree.

BlindSquare and NaviLens join to serve on the frontline.

Being stuck indoors.
Has the pandemic created a greater impact for persons who are blind, deafblind, or partially sighted?  Absolutely. These persons now have a heightened need to “be aware” of current locations and planned destinations. They need to know where they are and limit their exposures.

A new opportunity to experience your environment.
BlindSquare and NaviLens, leaders in improving the lives for those who are blind/deafblind or partially sighted, bring you an opportunity to discover abilities and equip yourself in anticipation of a return to a new normal, and to provide you greater independence, comfort, and location awareness with immediate and long term rewards.

BlindSquare is the world’s most widely used accessible GPS iOS app developed for persons who are blind, deafblind or partially sighted. Paired with third-party navigation apps, BlindSquare’s self-voicing app delivers detailed points of interest and intersections for safe, reliable travel. Paired with NaviLens, the app that scans proprietary codes to deliver situational information instantly, this duo offers an unmatched experience for users to navigate independently and more importantly in today’s environment, safely.

While our products have been helpful for our current users, we pondered, why it can’t be great for all during this stress-filled time? We looked for a way to solve this, without cost.

BlindSquare’s reputation, across its 8 years of service, is replete with personal success stories such as those that extoll the value of travel information for making informed choices and the ability to “simulate” future destinations for adventure.  When using simulation, BlindSquare behaves just as if you’re there! And with NaviLens on board  your device, you have access to their award-winning technology to create personal tags that can be used to “label your world” for such things as cupboard content, prescription bottles, fridge contents (including best before dates!), contents of your bar, contents of your freezer, and more. NaviLens is enjoyed by thousands.

So, in co-operation and consultation with many educators and organizations supporting persons who are blind, deafblind, or partially sighted, we have committed to make BlindSquare EVENT (v. 4.9967+) and NaviLens available—free of charge—until November 2020. During this time, free access to BlindSquare EVENT means a full-featured version of BlindSquare for iOS users that is geofenced to the continents of New Zealand, Australia, North America (Canada and the USA), Greenland, Mexico, Spain, Portugal and Japan—well over 25 million square miles! Mid November, BlindSquare EVENT will return to Demonstration mode, NaviLens will continue.

There are no strings attached and no obligations implied by this offering. Our mutual goals are to reduce the impact of the pandemic to you, to provide you with the ability to plan future travel, and to become familiar with the enablement that our solutions provide.

BlindSquare resources

NaviLens resources

Your feedback is welcomed

Please complete this short survey, your insights are important to usCREDITS

In Canada, this initiative is gratefully sponsored by Bell Mobility, additional information and Bell Mobility offers can be found here.

Help us spread the word! Follow us on social media and share your experience with us and with others.





Resource: New Tech for 2019: A Wrap-up of the Assistive Technology Industry Association Conference – AccessWorld® – February 2019

New Tech for 2019: A Wrap-up of the Assistive Technology Industry Association Conference

Author: J.J. Meddaugh

Date Written: Feb 23, 2019 at 4:00 PM

Date Saved: 2/24/19, 10:59 AM


2019 looks to be a busy year for new products and innovations, as evidenced by the exhibit hall at the Assistive Technology Industry Association (ATIA) annual conference in Orlando. This year’s event was held January 30 through February 2 at the Caribe Royale Hotel and Convention Center and featured an array of devices from transportable video magnifiers to tech toys for kids and seniors. I’ve recapped some of the major highlights below. AFB AccessWorld also sponsored exhibit hall coverage on Blind Bargains, and links are included to audio interviews with text transcripts where appropriate.

The BrailleNote Touch Gets Refreshed

Humanware’s BrailleNote Touch has been a popular option for students and teachers since its release in 2016. But the hybrid touchscreen and braille keyboard device has been stuck on an outdated version of Android due to hardware limitations.

Humanware sought to modernize the notetaker with the announcement of the BrailleNote Touch Plus. It has basically the same shell and shape as its predecessor, but includes a faster processor, a USBC port for charging, and the Android 8.1 Oreo operating system. As Humanware’s Andrew Flatters explains in this Blind Bargains interview, moving to a modern version of Android allows Humanware to take advantage of up-to-date features such as the Chrome Web browser and the Google Assistant for voice commands. The unit also includes 4GB of memory and 64GB of built-in storage as well as support for more modern wireless and Bluetooth protocols.

Orders can be placed now for the BrailleNote Touch Plus in either 18- or 32-cell configurations, at $4,195 and $5,695 respectively. Current BrailleNote Touch users can upgrade to the new model, which will transplant the existing braille cells to a new unit, for $1,295.

A Braille Display of a Different Kind

The cost of a 32- or 18-cell braille display is still prohibitive for many people, so a company called BraiBook is offering an alternative idea with a product of the same name. The mouse-sized device includes a single braille cell and can be loaded with books in several formats. Characters are displayed in contracted or uncontracted braille a cell at a time, and the speed can be controlled using a joystick. A headphone jack allows the user to plug in an external headset or speaker to hear words as they are displayed. The small size and weight of the unit is its major advantage. But reading braille one cell at a time can be either tediously slow or nearly impossible, depending on the speed of the unit, potentially requiring a sharp learning curve. Priced at around $450, it faces an uphill climb against the likes of the Orbit Reader and BrailleMe, two 20-cell units available for about the same price. Hear more with an interview with BraiBook CEO Sébastien Lefebvre.

Magnified Options for People with Low Vision Revealed

There was no shortage of new video magnifying options on display at the conference. This year’s focus was on updates to what are often referred to as transportable video magnifiers, units that generally will sit on a desk but are light enough to be moved around if necessary.

Irie-AT is introducing the ReadEasy Evolve to the United States, a video magnifier that can capture an entire 11-by-17-inch sheet of paper in a single picture, useful for large items such as newspaper pages. Capturing is accomplished by moving the camera between two different mounting points. The lower camera hole is designed to read standard-sized paper, while the elevated slot is for larger documents. It was quick and painless to move the camera between the two slots. As for the actual reading of text, this was accomplished within about 4 seconds, though the company is working to make this even faster. Speech was clear using modern voices from the Vocalizer speech engine, and the optional keypad can be used for finer control. An optional monitor can be attached for users with low vision.

The 4-pound ReadEasy Evolve folds so it can be taken with you, and will run on an optional battery pack. The base unit is available from Irie-AT for about $2,000. You can listen to a demo with Irie-AT CEO Jeff Gardner who also talks about a new affordable braille embosser called the Braille Buddy.

Back over at the Humanware booth, two new and slightly heavier desktop magnifiers were announced, the Reveal 16 and Reveal 16I. Weighing in at a still transportable 13 pounds, Humanware is targeting these two models at two very different markets. The Reveal 16 is designed for seniors and elementary school students who desire a simple unit with basic controls. It features only four buttons: power, autofocus, zoom, and contrast. Images can be magnified from 1X to 45X and displayed in a variety of contrast modes. The camera can either point down at the base of the unit or be pointed outward for distance viewing.

Advanced users may prefer the Reveal 16I, which offers the same features as the basic model but adds a touchscreen, an OCR camera, and a fifth button, used for switching to an Android 7 tablet. Users of the Prodigi interface will be familiar with this mode, which can be used to read books aloud or run Android apps from Google Play.

Both models collapse and can be carried using an optional case. The Reveal 16 retails for $2,995 while the Reveal 16I sells for $3,995. Learn more with Humanware’s Eric Beauchamp who talks everything low-vision in this podcast.

A New Kind of Wearable

There weren’t as many wearables in the hall as in 2018, but Zoomax was showing a new take on the category. The Acesight is a lightweight headset that displays images using augmented reality. Individual screens are centered over each eye and display magnified images of what’s in front of you. This approach allows you to focus on what’s ahead of you while using your peripheral vision to see other items at the same time. Magnification is available in a variety of contrast modes from 1.1X to 15X. The Acesight will be available soon for $4,995. Learn more from Zoomax’s David Bradburn in this podcast.

Teaching Braille and Code to Kids

The American Printing House for the Blind was showing two products designed to teach important concepts to children who are visually impaired. BrailleBuzz is a toy designed for kids ages 2-5 to teach braille letters. The bumblebee-shaped toy includes buttons for each braille letter that announce the letter or its sound when pressed. A 6-cell Perkins-style braille keyboard is positioned below and will speak the braille letter that is typed, or play a sound if something besides a braille letter is entered. The BrailleBuzz is designed in the style of other audio-based children’s toys that teach basic letter and phonics concepts. It’s available now for $99.

Older kids may love Code Jumper, an educational toy collaboration between APH and Microsoft for teaching basic coding concepts. More and more kids are learning how to write code for computers or mobile devices, and many systems have been created to teach early foundations and concepts at a young age. Code Jumper is one of the first of these systems to be fully accessible for people who are blind or visually impaired.

The brains of the device are housed in the Code Jumper Hub, a Bluetooth device that will play back sounds or music based on what it is connected to. You may not be familiar with programming concepts such as loops, constants, or if statements, but the hands-on approach to the connected pods illustrates these and more to the most novice student or teacher. APH also plans on developing lessons for both teachers and students to complement the system. You can sign up for a waiting list to be informed when the product is released, likely later this year.

A New Guide for Seniors

Dolphin has completely rewritten the software it designed to simplify the Internet for seniors. The new GuideConnect allows you to read and write emails, listen to radio stations, read books, and browse the Web using a simplified interface. The Windows 10 software runs on computers, tablets, and can even be displayed on a TV using a customized set-top box and a remote control, similar to a Roku. The product will be available from Irie-AT in the United States starting at around $800, depending on options. You can listen to Gareth Collins talk about the benefits of the new software and other Dolphin developments in this podcast.


The ATIA conference was busier than in past years, and several major products were announced over the four-day event. We will continue to follow many of these products as they are released, and review some of them in future issues of AccessWorld. The CSUN Assistive Technology Conference, our next big opportunity to learn about new technology, moves to Anaheim this year and will be March 11-15. If you can’t make it, you can read about it right here.

This article is made possible in part by generous funding from the James H. and Alice Teubert Charitable Trust, Huntington, West Virginia.

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Copyright © 2019 American Foundation for the Blind. All rights reserved. AccessWorld is a trademark of the American Foundation for the Blind.

GTT Toronto Summary Notes, Seeing AI, TapTapSee, Be My Eyes and Aira, January 17, 2019

Summary Notes


GTT Toronto Adaptive Technology User Group

January 17, 2019


An Initiative of the Canadian Council of the Blind

In Partnership with the CNIB Foundation


The most recent meeting of the Get Together with Technology (GTT) Toronto Group was held on Thursday, January 17 at the CNIB Community Hub.


*Note: Reading Tip: These summary notes apply HTML headings to help navigate the document. With screen readers, you may press the H key to jump forward or Shift H to jump backward from heading to heading.


Theme: Seeing AI, TapTapSee, BeMyEyes and Aira


GTT Toronto Meeting Summary Notes can be found at this link:


Ian White (Facilatator, GTT)

Chelsy Moller Presenter, Balance For Blind Adults


Ian opened the meeting. Chelsy Moller will be presenting on recognition aps.


General Discussion:

  • We began with a general discussion. OrCam will be presenting at the White Cane Expo. AIRA will not. We’re still in negotiation to see if they will open up the event as a free AIRA event space. Apple will also not be there. They make it a corporate policy not to present at generalized disability events.
  • Ian raised the issue of getting a media error 7 when he’s recording on his Victor Stream. Is there a list of errors somewhere? Jason answered that perhaps it’s a corrupted SD card. A member said that there’s a list of errors in an appendix to the manual, which can be accessed by holding down the 1 key.
  • Michael asked if there’s a way to add personal notes in BlindSquare, such as, 25 steps. One recommendation was a document that you could access through the cloud. Another recommendation was to mark a “point of interest” in BlindSquare. When you do this, you can name it, so you could call it, Shoppers 25, to indicate 25 steps. Another recommendation was to make notes using the iPhone notes ap. Another recommendation was to set up geo-dependent iPhone reminders. Within a radius of the spot you want, your phone would just tell you whatever information you put in.
  • A member raised the problem of using Windows 10 and Jaws, trying to synchronize contacts email with Apple, and having duplicate folders in his Outlook email. Microsoft exchange might help.
  • Jason told the group that he has an Instant Pot smart available for sale. This is a pressure cooker that works with the iPhone, and it’s no longer available as an iPhone connectable device. He’s thinking $100, talk to him privately if interested.
  • Then he described a new keyboard he got. It’s a Bluetooth called REVO2, which he received as a demo unit. It’s got 24 keys. You can type on your phone with it, or control your phone with it. Its most useful use is when you need to key in numbers after having made a call, such as keying in bank passwords etc. Alphabetic entry works the way old cell phones did, press 2 twice for B. It has actual physical buttons. It can control every aspect of VoiceOver. You can also route your phone audio to it, so you’re essentially using it as a phone. It’s about $300. It can be paired to iPhone and Android. Here’s a link to the David Woodbridge podcast demonstrating the Rivo Keyboard:
  • A member asked if Phone it Forward is up and running. This is a program in which CNIB takes old phones, refurbishes them, then redistributes them to CNIB clients. Phone It Forward information can be found at this link.


Seeing AI, TapTapSee, Be My Eyes, and AIRA Presentation:

Ian introduced Chelsie, who is an Adaptive Technology Trainer, and Engagement Specialist. She’s here tonight to talk about recognition aps.

We’re going to focus on 4 aps, Seeing AI, TapTapSee, Be My Eyes, and AIRA.

  • Seeing AI is an ap that allows the user to do a variety of visual tasks, scene description, text recognition, vague descriptions of people, light levels, currency recognition, and colour preview. Each of these functions is called a channel. As a side note, Chelsie said that her iPhone10 uses facial recognition as your password. A store employee told her it wouldn’t work because it needs to see your retina, but this isn’t true; it works from facial contours.

Chelsie opened the ap. There’s a menu, quick help, then channel chooser. To get from channel to channel, flick up. She did a demonstration of short text with a book. It’s helpful for reading labels and packaging. Try to keep the camera about a foot above the text, and centred. This requires some trial and error. The document channel takes a picture of the text. It’s better for scanning a larger surface. Short text is also very useful for your computer screen if your voice software is unresponsive. Short text will not recognize columns, but document mode usually will. The product channel is for recognizing bar codes. This is a bit challenging because you have to find the bar code first. Jason said that it’s possible to learn where the codes typically appear, near the label seem on a can, or on the bottom edge of a cereal box. The person channel tells you when the face is in focus, then you take a picture. You get a response that gives age, gender, physical features, and expression. Chelsie demonstrated these, as well as currency identifier. It’s very quick. The scene preview also takes a picture, and gives you a very general description. The colour identification channel is also very quick. There’s also a hand writing channel, that has mixed results. The light detector uses a series of ascending and descending tones. Beside the obvious use of detecting your house lights, it’s also useful in diagnosing electronics. If you turn all other lights off, you can use it to see if an indicator light on a device is on.

Seeing AI is free. It’s made by Microsoft, who has many other ways of generating revenue.

  • TapTapSee is a very good ap for colour identification. This is always a tricky thing, because colour is often subjective, and is affected by light levels. TapTapSee takes a picture, and gives a general description including colour. For more accurate colour description, Be My Eyes and AIRA are better. TapTapSee is free.
  • Be My Eyes is a service in which a blind person contacts volunteers who help with quick identification or short tasks. Because they’re volunteers, the quality of help varies. You may have to wait for a volunteer. There’s a specialized help button. You can use Be My Eyes to call the disability help desk. This is useful if you need technical help from Microsoft, and they need to see your screen. This ap is also free.
  • AIRA is a paid service. Chelsie has been using it for a month. She’s very happy with it. It connects a blind user with a trained, sighted agent. This could be anything from “what is this product?” “I need to find this address,” I need to navigate through a hospital or airport. When you set up your profile, you can specify how much information you want in a given situation, and how you like to receive directions. They can access your location via GPS, in order to help navigate. They will not say things like “it’s safe to cross,” but they will say things like, “You have a walk signal with 10 seconds to go.” They’re seeing through either your phone camera, or through a camera mounted on glasses you can ware.

They have 3 plans, introductory, 30 minutes. You cannot buy more minutes in a month on this plan. You can upgrade though. The standard plan is 120 minutes at $100, or the $125 plan, that gives you 100 minutes plus the glasses. The advantage of this is that you can be hands-free when travelling. The glasses have a cord connecting them to an Android phone that has been dedicated to the AIRA function. Otherwise, you simply use your own phone with its built-in camera. This happens via an ap that you install.

The question was raised about whether the glasses could be Bluetooth, but the feedback was that there’s too much data being transmitted for Bluetooth to work.

On the personal phone ap, you open the ap and tap on the “call” button. With the glasses, there’s a dedicated button to press to initiate the call.

Chelsie spoke about how powerfully liberating it is to have this kind of independence and information. You can, read her blog post about her experience here

The third plan is 300 minutes and $190. All these prices are U.S.

Jason added that, in the U.S. many stores are becoming Sight Access Locations. This means that if you already have an AIRA subscription, use at these locations won’t count against your minutes. The stores pay AIRA for this. This will likely begin to roll out in Canada. Many airports are also Sight Access Locations. You can’t get assigned agents, but you may get the same agent more than once. If you lose your connection, the agent will be on hold for about 90 seconds so that you can get the same agent again if you call back immediately. For head phones, you can use ear buds or Aftershocks.


Upcoming Meetings:

  • Next Meeting: Thursday, February 21 at 6pm
  • Location: CNIB Community Hub space at 1525 Yonge Street, just 1 block north of St Clair on the east side of Yonge, just south of Heath.
  • Meetings are held on the third Thursday of the month at 6pm.


GTT Toronto Adaptive Technology User Group Overview:

  • GTT Toronto is a chapter of the Canadian Council of the Blind (CCB).
  • GTT Toronto promotes a self-help learning experience by holding monthly meetings to assist participants with assistive technology.
  • Each meeting consists of a feature technology topic, questions and answers about technology, and one-on-one training where possible.
  • Participants are encouraged to come to each meeting even if they are not interested in the feature topic because questions on any technology are welcome. The more participants the better able we will be equipped with the talent and experience to help each other.
  • There are GTT groups across Canada as well as a national GTT monthly toll free teleconference. You may subscribe to the National GTT blog to get email notices of teleconferences and notes from other GTT chapters. Visit:


There is a form at the bottom of that web page to enter your email.




GTT national Conference Call Notes for December 9 2015 on GPS Solutions for people who are blind or have low vision. 

Summary Notes

GTT National Conference Call

Get Together with Technology

December 9 2015. 

GPS Solutions 



 Tom Dekker Donna Hudon Albert Ruel (facilitator and presenter),



1. Blind Square GPS App:
Tom started out the presentation on BlindSquare. Blind square has its own voice, and works well with Voice over as well. The buttons and tabs you will find on the app include:

Search, Add Place, Tools, 4Square, Other Button and Filter Announcements. 

Tom reviewed the options available in the Filter Announcements and recommends the use of Streets and My Places. That will announce all streets as they are crossed and the locations you have favorited. 

2-finger double tab turns on and off the Blind Square voice, and a 3-finger double tap turns on and off the Voiceover voice. The Blind Square voice mute is at the top right corner of the screen and is a toggle meaning that if you double tap it once, it mutes speech and if you double tap with one finger again, it unmutes speech.  

Add Places: allows the operator to add Points of Interest by categories, address and while one is standing near it. 

Tools: the Look Around is a valuable feature in the Tools Tab and will announce intersections and Points of interest in the area and in the direction the operator is pointing the iPhone. Limits can be set for the range within which Blind Square will announce what it finds. 

Search: uses a variety of categories from which to suggest places one might be interested in, and once located the operator can double tap the Favourite toggle and have Blind Square announce each time it gets within range of the device. When a location is selected more info can be read for that place or business. 

Blind Square does not give you turn by turn directions. The Tracking feature can be invoked which will tell the operator how far away and at which direction the specified location will be found. Blind square can be asked for nearby addresses to that location as well. Check it out at:


Q: Can plan a route be used if a location is not favourited?

A: Yes. As long as you can select it you can start to track toward it. Addresses can be taken from the iPhones’ Contact List and tracked from there as well. 

Q: Does it only give directions by the clock or compass? 

A: You can set it to give direction using Cardinal Directions as well. 

Q: Does it matter which direction you hold the phone?

A: Just having the phone in your pocket it will determine your direction of travel. Some bone conducting headphones will allow you to operate the app using the in-line buttons. Pointing the phone in various directions will allow you to determinpoints of interest (POIs) and other info in that direction. Also, shaking the phone will invoke the Look Around feature providing next intersection and travel direction info. Lots of features can be turned on or off in the Other Button menu. 

Q: If I were walking to a corner in my City will Blind Square tell me about the building and the businesses therein? 

A: Not yet, however Apple has available something called iBeacons that will provide access to interior spaces. Tim Horton’s in Ontario has started a pilot project of making iBeacons in some of their stores. 

As you walk along the street, Blind Square will announce the stores or buildings you pass in many cases. Sometimes they even announce bus stops if they have been marked by someone. 

Irene indicated that she uses blind square when riding her horse. She sets up Way-Tags in the Add Places Tab for places like the mailbox, ditches and so on. Blind square then warns her as she approaches them allowing her the time to steer the horse around them without injuring her shins. 

Tom indicated that BlindSquare is the app that has helped him to learn the Victoria downtown area since moving there about 2 years ago. 



2. Trekker Breeze Stand-alone GPS Device:
Donna started out the demo on the Trekker Breeze by turning on the Key Describer feature, hold down the button 3, so that each time a button is pressed Trekker will announce what each key will do. The new Breeze is smaller than the original. There are 9 buttons in a number keypad configuration. 


Trekker will announce how far you’ve travelled, your altitude and many other helpful bits of info. Trekker can also reverse routes once you have reached your destination, and addresses can be inserted for turn by turn instructions to your favourite places. Points of interest in many categories can also be used to receive turn by turn instructions, and landmarks can be set and labelled as Points of interest along the way. It ships with all Canadian maps, and additional world maps can be purchased for trips abroad. 


The Explorer feature allows the user to virtually walk a neighbourhood anywhere on the installed maps from the comfort of their living room. 


Note: that blind squarevery has a simulation mode which allows you to find out what is around a location you may be travelling too. 

Kim used this when travelling to the braille conference in Toronto to find out what was around the hotel.  

Donna offered to take questions rather than work through each item that can be done with the Trekker. A question was asked about the battery, which is thought to be about 15 hours of constant use. The Trekker shifts from vehicle mode to pedestrian mode automatically, and offers different levels of info depending on those modes. More intersection info is available in pedestrian mode. 


Donna reiterated that because Trekker is separate from her phone she finds it more convenient. 


Addresses can be typed in with the number keypad, and landmarks can be marked for future use, like garbage cans, park benches etc.   


Donna indicated that her recent upgrade didn’t seem to add functionality, and others indicated that the battery life is since increased as a result. James indicated that his works better in the downtown concrete canyons, and Donna hasn’t found that to be the case with her upgraded Trekker. The old Trekker Breeze often lost contact with satellites, which was to be remedied with the 2015 $200 upgrade. It was suggested that the Trekker be turned on a few minutes before leaving so that connection can be secured before the trip begins. Trekker seems to connect better than trying it once movement has started. 


Maps are upgraded on regular bases so new places of business and new neighbourhoods become available quite quickly. Map updates are free. 


Trekker gives intersection info like, 3-way, 4-way and 5-way intersections, city boundaries for larger metropolitan areas, and name changes of streets as one travels by vehicle or pedestrian. Without inserting an address one can merely walk while Trekker announces the streets as they are approached. It will also announce your points of interest as you pass them, which offers a means of familiarizing oneself with a community. 


An external speaker is available that clips to a collar so that it can be heard without blocking ones ears for safety. Bone conducting headphones can also be attached to this device for the same reason.

Note: You cannot use the bluetooth bone conduction head phones with the trekker. You must get wired headphones for this.

The bluetooth bone conduction headphones will work with blind square. 

The most common bone conduction headphones are made by afshokz. 

Many of the access technology companies in Canada sell them but they can also be purchased on amazon and now even in the apple store online.  


For more info check out:



3. iMove GPS App:
A question was asked about iMove by Everywhere Technologies, an app for the iPhone which seems to be free, and available for iPhone, iPad and iPod. You can learn more at:



4. Seeing Eye GPS App:
Albert then gave an overview of the Sendero Seeing Eye GPS app for the iPhone. It is currently being used as a subscription app that appears to fetch a price of $79 USD for an additional year, and $6.99 for additional months. Albert indicated that it cannot be purchased outright, which has since been determined to be incorrect. The outright purchase of the app is $399 USD. A similar app is available for the BrailleNote and BrrailleSense note takers. 


The main front screen offers many helpful items like the nearest intersection, nearest address, direction of travel, location accuracy and altitude. The menus are, Routes, POIs, Location, Maps and Settings. Other than the Maps Menu all are very accessible. Maps takes you to Google maps which appears to require vision to use effectively.

Note: You can use google maps but it does take some learning. Kim is able to use it on the iphone after much practice. If anyone wants some help with it, let her know. 



The Look Around Wand in Seeing Eye is very similar to that which Tom demonstrated with Blind Square. It allows you to see in different directions all that is in your vicinity. I have also purchased a $5 Sendero app called Look Around that will give me that info by merely shaking the phone. 


The Route Creation Menu offers several ways to get to where I want to go. The first is a Route to Home button which will give me turn by turn instructions back to the address I’ve labelled as “Home”. The POI Button will offer many categories of businesses, schools, churches and other types of places I might wish to find and be directed to. The Address Button allows me to insert any address and have Seeing Eye take me there. The History Button takes the user back to previously accessed addresses or Points of Interest.  


The POI Menu allows me to type the name of a business I want, and Seeing Eye will search for and list the findings from my area. Double tapping on the desired one provides the options of being directed as a pedestrian, driver, transit user or bicyclist. 


One of the drawbacks to the app is how quickly it drains the battery. For daily use of this app to get to and from work one will be wise to secure an additional battery pack. Albert has noticed that Blind Square uses less battery power than Seeing Eye. 


For more info check out:


A question was asked as to whether Blind Square and Seeing Eye would be used together, and which might be preferred. They are not used together and they don’t necessarily do the same things. Granted, all three GPS devices presented today will tell you where you are and they will announce streets as you travel, however Blind Square doesn’t give turn by turn instructions and both Trekker and Seeing Eye do. All three use POIs as a means of locating and alerting the user to their having arrived. 


What’s the difference between the free Sendero Look Around and the Seeing Eye app? The Look Around app merely gives the user nearby intersection, POI and address locations, whereas Seeing Eye will guide the user to selected locations with turn by turn instructions. I also use the Seeing Eye to keep an eye on the driver’s speed of travel, altitude and direction of travel while on route. 


5. Nearby Explorer for Android Smart Phones:
A question was asked about accessible GPS apps for Android. There is one called Nearby Explorer which was produced by the American Printing House for the Blind.


A question was asked about the data usage for these iPhone apps. Lorne Webber indicated that Seeing Eye uses data to load the map when a search for an address is done, and that no further data will be used once the map is loaded. If another search is conducted then it will access data once again. No firm answer was available regarding Blind Square and data usage though, however it isn’t believed to be large as no pictures or other large items are being accessed by the apps. Donna indicated that Sendero Look Around requires data in order to function. 


6. MyWay Lite and Classic:
Another app mentioned is My Way Lite, which is free, and My Way Classic which costs about $20. They both use data in order to download the maps to your iPhone, then don’t require data to do the actual navigation.


Irene indicated that with the screen locked she uses Blind Square with little in the way of battery drainage and hardly any data provided the wayfinding tags are saved. Data will be required for the saving of any additional wayfinding tags though. 


7. Kapten Plus GPS and App:
Irene asked about the Kapten Plus GPS device. Leader Dogs in Michigan used to provide these devices for their graduates, however they have since stopped doing so. She used it for about 4 years and found that it worked fairly well, however that it didn’t give her as much info as Blind Square or Trekker. Irene further suggested that the Kapten Plus app for the iPhone was impossible for her to manage so she is recommending that it be avoided. It is available through Canadialog:


8. Ariadne GPS App:
Donna mentioned Ariadne GPS which she also uses on her iPhone. It can be found at:


9. Google and Apple Map Apps for the iPhone:
Lorne suggested that Google Maps when he’s travelling with a sighted driver offers him good info regarding the lane to be in when accessing needed off-ramps. Although blind travelers don’t always need such info, it can be helpful when he’s navigating for the driver, and his experience is that it’s very accessible with Voice Over. Apple Maps are also good, however Lorne prefers Google Maps. 

10. Bad Elf GPS Antenna:
Lorne further suggested that separate GPS antenna can be purchased for use with iPhone GPS apps. One such example is the Bad Elf GPS Antenna. Visit to learn more about the Bad Elf GPS, GPS Pro/Pro+, and the GNSS Surveyor accessories, which add a high performance GPS receiver to the iPod touch, iPhone, and iPad via the 30-pin dock connector, Lighting connector, or Bluetooth. The GPS data is usable by ALL location-based iOS applications in the App Store. 



If anyone has any more GPS solutions for people who are blind or have low vision, please let us know at 

Or call Kim at 1-877-304-0968 X. 513. 

Or Albert at 1-877-304-0968 X. 550.