Aware of the surroundings

Wright State seeks to leverage new technology called iBeacon to allow blind and visually impaired students the opportunity for greater freedom

The Office of Disability Services works with tech company Sensible Innovations to develop a smartphone app to help blind and visually impaired individuals navigate campus.

Once again, Wright State University is on the forefront in regards to using innovative technology to make a difference in the lives of its students.

Wright State’s Office of Disability Services provides support services and environments necessary to help all students succeed, regardless of their challenges, striving to create an inclusive community for students, faculty, staff and guests.

In fact, The American Association for Access, Equity and Diversity calls Wright State a “national leader of services for students with disabilities” and “one of the top five disability-friendly universities” in the United States.

Wright State continues to show its leadership in the field by implementing a new technology to further enable students to have the best access to succeed in college.

Working with the tech company Sensible Innovations, the Office of Disability Services has found a way for individuals with low vision and blindness to navigate Wright State’s campus.

Sensible Innovations developed an app called Aware that takes advantage of iBeacons that communicate with users’ smartphones and assist them with navigation. With a series of iBeacon devices adhered to walls or ceilings, the Aware app can tell users where they are in a space and easily direct them to another location.

This can be especially helpful to low vision and blind students who are often expected to attend orientation and mobility training. If a student cannot complete the training, getting around campus can be difficult.

To further assist blind and visually impaired individuals, the Aware app can be updated with new information with facility changes and even obtain event information that can give specifics to attendees of various Wright State events.

Wright State is the first university in the country to implement the Aware app to assist blind and visually impaired students.

“We have a legacy of implementing innovative technologies to enhance the Wright State experience for our students with disabilities. Thanks to the generous financial support of the Kelchner Family Foundation Fund and the Ohio Lions Foundation, we were able to bring yet another student success support to Wright State University,” said Tom Webb, the director of disability services at Wright State.

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