This article first appeared in the Railway-News magazine, Issue 4 2022 Data & Monitoring edition.
A conversation with Icomera and its subsidiary, GoMedia, about Visor, their solution that enables the blind and visually impaired to navigate their way around transportation stations and rail platforms – independently, without the need for expensive, fixed infrastructure.
Accessibility – when we think of that word in terms of transport, we typically think of a wheelchair user, of someone who needs level boarding or ramps and who needs wheelchair-accessible platforms.
But accessibility is a much bigger area in need of consideration.
Think for a moment you are visually impaired or blind. And you want to take the train to visit a friend. You manage to navigate your way to the station, but then what?
Wayfinding must now be accessible.
We spoke to Roger Matthews, Managing Director of GoMedia, Sven Koster, GoMedia Head of Business Development and Innovation, and Gabriel Lopez- Bernal, President at Icomera US, at InnoTrans to learn about one of the tools being developed to help the visually impaired navigate their way around stations.
Josephine Cordero Sapién, Railway-News: You have a product called Visor, which helps the blind and visually impaired navigate through stations. Visor uses these colourful ‘BIDI’ codes that users scan with their smartphones to access pertinent information.
Can you tell us a little bit more about how these codes were developed and how they work?
Roger Matthews, GoMedia: The codes were developed by NaviLens and we’re bringing those codes to life. Unlike conventional QR codes, these NaviLens codes are coloured to increase the number of combinations that they can have.
Sven Koster, GoMedia: The colour also helps with the angles and to identify the distance between the code and the scanning device. The colour also allows the code to be picked up much faster. QR codes were developed 30 years ago. They don’t allow you to give multidirectional feedback. And a user needs to focus on them. A QR code won’t work when you move around because the device won’t focus.
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Icomera and GoMedia chat to us about Visor, their accessibility product that allows the blind and visually impaired to navigate stations independently.
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