A new Israeli app helps visually impaired individuals navigate through crowded spaces safely.
A pioneering smartphone accessibility application launched last week seeks to help orient the visually impaired through crowded indoor spaces, such as malls, hospitals and universities.
Ra’anana-based RightHear was founded by Idan Meir and Gil Elgrably and is billed as an app that “offers an innovative indoor orientation and mobility solution for people who are blind or visually impaired.”
The RightHear app was developed almost accidentally, as Meir and Elgrably had originally developed technology meant to offer virtual on-the-spot coupons to shoppers, the Israel21c website reported this week. They soon realized, however, that rather than marketing the application to end users, they could pitch it to the venues as a way of making their space accessible to the visually impaired.
“We didn’t even know if blind people used smartphones or apps since they’re so visual,” Meir told Israel21c, adding that once the prototype was designed—during a 2015 event in Ra’anana—the municipality put the app developers in touch with several blind people in the city to try it.
“They were blown away. They were so excited about it, even though we didn’t have a product yet,” he said.
Meir and Elgrably have spent the last two years developing RightHear, which is currently operational at 200 venues. The app is free for users, and RightHear charges the venues a fee based on the number of access spots that are deployed.