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Perkins School for the Blind

Perkins is using crowdsourced data from local contributors to develop technology that helps the visually impaired to navigate the gap between GPS and the real world

Problem

People with visual impairments often experience what’s called “the last 50 feet problem,” where GPS can get you to your approximate destination, but offers less detail the closer you get. Without this information, people struggle to find specific locations like bus stops or building entrances and rarely deviate from familiar routes, leading to a less independent lifestyle.

Project

With a $750,000 grant from Google.org, Perkins is building tools to crowdsource data from people with sight to close the navigation gap. They’ll log clues in a standardized way to create directions that lead users exactly to their intended destination.

Impact

Perkins is partnering with transit authorities and local organizations serving the visually impaired to test the approach, which when deployed could provide people with visual impairments greater independence and flexibility in their commutes.