Successful Midterm Demo ‘OpenData2Guide ScaleUp’

From screen readers and voice assistants to haptic feedback and innovative apps, smartphones have become indispensable tools for visually impaired individuals. As part of the BMVI research project ‘OpenData2Guide ScaleUp’, we are exploring new digital possibilities for public transportation. Initial interim results have now been successfully tested by blind users.


The Problem: Individual Information Needs on the Go

Blind and visually impaired individuals still face many challenges when navigating through their daily lives, especially at bus stops and train stations. They often have questions like: How is the bus stop structured? What is the current timetable? Which train is in front of me? Frequently, this relevant information is either not available or only provided in a limited manner. However, public transportation plays a crucial role in the independence of blind and visually impaired people.


The Solution Approach: An Adaptive App Approach for Everyone

The research project focuses on targeted information delivery. To achieve this, three elements are being prototypically developed and evaluated:

  • Inclusion: The goal is not to create a simplified app solely for blind users. Instead, the aim is to explore how complex navigation apps can be designed to be accessible to all, including visually impaired users (e.g., through audio output).
  • Context Awareness: By capturing the user’s position via GPS and Bluetooth, specific information can be provided through notifications, tailored to the user’s particular situation (e.g., information about the bus stop).
  • Natural Interaction: To enable targeted information retrieval, an AI-based audio chatbot is being utilized. Users can interact with it naturally, allowing them to inquire about the next bus connection, for example.


The current prototype already incorporates all of these features, enabling blind users to test and provide feedback in a real-world setting. After three hours of intensive testing, it became evident that the approach definitely holds potential. We will post more information on this in the future!