App helps blind, partially sighted people navigate indoors

CNIB has introduced new wayfinding technology in Regina that the organization says “smashes accessibility barriers” for people who are blind or partially sighted.

Regina's CNIB building introduces new wayfinding technology

The CNIB office in Regina is the first public building in Saskatchewan to use the BlindSquare technology. (CBC News)

The CNIB has introduced new way-finding technology in Regina that the organization says "smashes accessibility barriers" for people who are blind or partially sighted.

Seven beacons were recently installed around the CNIB's Broad Street office, along with QR codes on doors.

The beacons and QR codes feed information – such as the location of doors, bathrooms and the name and title of the person located behind each office door – to the BlindSquare Event iOS App. That information is then announced aloud through an iPhone.

QR codes were placed on doors at the CNIB office on Broad Street. (CBC News)

The CNIB office is the first public building in the province to use the beacon technology – and Christall Beaudry hopes it won't be the last.

"Ideally we build BlindSquare communities and so it becomes accessible for all," said Beaudry, the executive director of CNIB's Saskatchewan division.

CNIB describes the BlindSquare app as "the world's most popular" accessible GPS app developed for individuals who are blind or partially sighted, noting it is available in 26 languages and used in 160 countries. 

Christall Beaudry is the executive director of CNIB's Saskatchewan division. (CBC News)

"As a person who is blind, utilizing this technology when it is available means I can navigate independently and learn the building layout by myself," said CNIB client Ashley Nemeth in a news release.

"Normally I would have to go with the CNIB orientation and mobility specialist to learn and memorize the layout with her or rely on someone sighted to take me around."

About 14,300 people in Saskatchewan are blind or partially sighted.