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A research group has created a GPS-based application called 'OnTheBus' for Android based mobiles.Using the app, blind people can find their way around the city.

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A research group at Spain’s Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona School of Engineering has created a GPS-based application called ‘OnTheBus’ for mobile devices equipped with Android operating system. It’s been specially made for visually or audibly impaired people. Using the app, like the rest of us, the blind people can find their way around the city.


Blind People Using OnTheBus Application, Image Credit : Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona

Though the application is specially made for blind people, but still anyone can use it. Any people would like use it as the application offers a step-by-step guide to reaching the desired destination easily. First a user has to decide where and how he/she will go. As the app uses both visual and auditory cues to mention the route, so it shows/tells the user the easiest way to his desired destination. If a user wants to go somewhere on foot then the apps guide him/her to reach there in a most easy way. If he/she wants to go to a bus stop, the system guides him/her from his/her present location to the closest appropriate bus stop. The app also provides information about how long he/she will have to wait there for the bus.

Along with GPS functionality, OnTheBus also utilizes the smartphone’s compass, accelerometer, and 3G or WiFi connectivity. So, after boarding on a bus, using those GPS, compass, and accelerometer, it informs the user how many more stops he/she has left and alerts him/her by ringing a bell where to get off. Upon getting off the vehicle, the app start again giving directions and guide the user to his/her final destination. Here’s a demo video.

Blind users can interact with it via voice recognition. The app currently can Spanish, Catalan, English and Italian. As the app has been developed by a Spanish college, currently it’s only available for Madrid, Barcelona, and Rome, but they’re adding new cities constantly. OnTheBus is available now, at Google Play. Be noted, the app runs on Android operating system based mobile devices.

Source : Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona

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