Novartis Pharmaceuticals released the new features for its ViaOpta app that can help visually impaired people get around their neighborhood.
The discreet, hands-free nature of using ViaOpta app with wearable devices, such as Apple Watch and Android Wear, provides users with an experience that seamlessly fits into their existing routines allowing those with visual impairments to navigate daily life with even greater ease.
Using vibrations and voice commands the app keeps the person on track. The easy to use controls allow the user to save favorite locations, find landmarks, or choose to navigate to a nearby bakery.
The system also shares the GPS location of the user with friends and family, allowing blind people to explore on their own in unfamiliar environments without fear of getting seriously lost. The app has access to OpenStreetMaps that provide information on nearby points of interest, street crossings, and public lavatories.
There are a couple visual recognition features as well, including the ability to point the smart device's camera at an object to have the app guess what it is, as well as photographing an entire scene and getting feedback on what kind of environment it is.