Voice Guidance App Helping Visually Challenged People

Society

Tokyo, Sept. 3 (Jiji Press)--A service to guide visually impaired people using voices from a smartphone app has been introduced to train stations around the main venue of the Tokyo Paralympic Games and elsewhere.

The app, "shikAI," developed by Tokyo-based LiNKX Inc., has been well received. "Even in an unfamiliar place, I can walk without relying on others, so I'm happy," said Chihiro Watanabe, a 17-year-old high school second-grader from Tokyo's Sumida Ward, who has had little sight since birth.

Users scan a quick response, or QR, code on a tactile paving with a smartphone camera, and the app guides them by saying, for example, "There is an elevator 3 meters to the right," and "The ticket gate is 5 meters ahead."

The voice guidance service is currently available at nine stations, including Tokyo Metro Co.'s Gaienmae Station, the nearest station to the Japan National Stadium, the main venue for the Tokyo Paralympics.

Tokyo Metro is positive about introducing the service at more stations in response to requests from many visually impaired people.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press