If a person is blind, it costs only $39.99 to buy his freedom! This liberation that will allow someone to travel many new places is in the form of an application named BlindSquare, manufactured by MIPSOFT. This app contains a multitude of features that a person can use depending on what information he desires to obtain. Additionally, features can be turned on and off inside of the app if a user would like to hear more or less information. Regardless of what feature a person is using, if someone is completely blind, it is important to use BlindSquare in conjunction with a voice navigation tool, such as VoiceOver on Apple devices. While BlindSquare will announce lots of information, a voice navigation feature is important to help completely blind people navigate through the various menus and features inside of BlindSquare.
Among the many fabulous features of the app is the ability to select "Look Around" mode. When selected, a user can point his phone in any direction; the direction in which the top of the phone is aimed indicates the direction that the app focuses on. BlindSquare can give you several pieces of information, including street crossings and different types of businesses in a given direction. At any time, a person can turn off "Look Around" mode. Additional information can be obtained even when not in "Look Around" mode by shaking the phone. This will give you information such as your current address and how far you have walked since you opened BlindSquare.
Another wonderful feature of BlindSquare is that it can be used in collaboration with other apps. It can be used with the social media app FourSquare to "check in" to business establishments. For mobility purposes, it can be used in collaboration with the "Maps" app on Apple devices, as well as with Google Maps. To activate one of these maps applications, use the Search feature in the BlindSquare app. Type in the business name, and then scroll through the list to select the one that is a desirable distance from your current location. Select that business, and select the "Plan a Route" option. On Apple devices, you will then choose between Maps and Google Maps. Once in a maps application, select the option to start your route. Of course, a person can use a maps application without BlindSquare. However, I find it most helpful to use them in conjunction with each other for mobility purposes. I use the maps application to determine when I should turn on a street, how far away I am from my next turn, and, once on the correct street of the business, how far I am from the business. BlindSquare will produce a chiming or bell sound when a person is getting close his destination. With this sound, BlindSquare will announce a user's distance from his destination. This feature of using a maps app together with BlindSquare can be helpful, as it serves as an alert for a person that he is getting close to his desired location. Additionally, when using a maps app, a person can open and use the BlindSquare app with all of its features at any time.
Although BlindSquare has many fabulous features, there are some drawbacks, as with many apps. For users who have a severe hearing loss, this application will be difficult to use. Although phones and tablets can usually be connected to braille displays for completely blind users, it is not practical to carry a braille display around a user's neck to read the directions as he walks. Additionally, if a visually impaired person who is not completely blind is very hard of hearing, the app may become difficult to use. If the print on a tablet is too small, even when adjusted, magnification equipment is necessary. If a person does not have magnification equipment that can be worn or that is easily carried, this app will be extremely difficult, if not impossible, to use. Overall, I find BlindSquare to be a fantastic application. It is often more accurate and much faster than constantly seeking assistance from the public when wondering what businesses are nearby or when searching for a particular building. While $39.99 may appear to be expensive for some, it is a one-time charge with no monthly fees. Just under $40 truly could buy a blind person his freedom.