Navigating cities can be overwhelming in the best of times, and for travelers with disabilities, it can be frustrating. Enter technology. The availability of apps that cater to handicapped travelers has made traveling immensely easier. As such, here are our Top 6 apps for able bodies.
WeWALK Smart Cane and App
Developed by engineers in Turkey, the WeWalk Smart Cane can be paired with the smartphone app for the visually impaired. Co-founder, Kurstat Ceylan, who is blind told CNN:
“These days we are talking about flying cars, but these people have been using just a plain stick. As a blind person, when I am at the Metro station I don’t know which is my exit…I don’t know which bus is approaching…[or] which stores are around me. That kind of information can be provided with the WeWALK.”
The WeWALK Smart Cane has an ultrasonic sensor that alerts the user of obstacles above chest level with a series of vibrations. Navigation is further assisted with an integrated voice assistant and Google Maps.
Using voice recognition software and an easy interface, Roger Voice transforms voice calls into a more accessible text format. With this app, a person with a hearing impairment can read everything a person is telling them over the phone.
Speech recognition software can also dictate multiple languages. This is a very useful feature when a person visits a foreign country.
Be My Eyes
Blind or low vision users can request visual assistance from the network of volunteers. Through a live video call, the user and a volunteer can communicate directly whenever assistance is requested. The sighted volunteer installs the Be My Eyes app and when a visually impaired user needs help, the volunteer receives a video call. A visually impaired person may need help checking expiration dates, reading instructions or navigating their way to their departure gate.
For wheelchair-bound people, travelling can sometimes be a gamble when it comes to accessible ramps, entrances and seating. Wheelmap lists wheelchair accessible hotels, landmarks, movie theatres, restaurants and other locations. This app is available only for European cities at the time of this writing.
Using a traffic light system, green for full wheelchair-accessible locations, amber for partial wheelchair access and red for no wheelchair access, travellers won’t have to hope for the best anymore.
Access Earth is for people who require step-free access to venues. Users of rollators, crutches and wheelchairs can rate and review locations based on the accessibility. Think of it as the Trip Advisor for the mobility impaired.
JABtalk is an open-source free communication tool for non-verbal adults and children. Speech therapists recommend JABtalk as an effective ‘augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) solution.’ Originally designed for children with special speech needs, the app has evolved to help stroke patients, Down syndrome, apraxia of speech and speech-language pathologists.
A series of images and voice files are personalized so the user can communicate effectively. If you’ve watched Transformers, you’ll know that after Bumblebee’s voice was taken he learned to communicate by tuning the radio stations and glean song lyrics to communicate. JABtalk kinda works like that
JABtalk is available in 100 cities across the world.