New app, beacons make it easier for visually impaired to move around

Hosea Sanders Image
Sunday, October 9, 2016
New app makes it easier for visually impaired to get around
New technology is giving those that are blind and visually impaired more freedom.

CHICAGO -- New technology is giving those that are blind and visually impaired more freedom. It's called Beacon Technology. Chicago's Lighthouse is one of the first facilities to put it to the test.

"This new app involves technology called iBeacons and beacons are programmable devices that send out a signal to a smartphone that can be placed on the ceiling or on the walls of a facility," said Tom Perski, senior vice president of rehabilitation services at the Chicago Lighthouse.

Perski said the beacons are paired with an app that anyone can download to their phone or tablet.

"The app called Aware has some other features where a person can if they walk past a facility or a room and they don't know what it is they can just push the top right hand part of the screen that says more information," said Perski.

Beacons and the app are programmable by the facility to put in all the information about their department or center. Places like offices and malls will need to map out where beacons need to be placed to help users navigate.

"Trying something that would help me navigate is something I think that I had only dreamed of before. You know just hearing the different descriptions and directions was pretty remarkable actually," said Sandy Murillo, a Development Assistant at Chicago Lighthouse.

It can even be used in vending machines.

To give you a comparison, Perski says to those who are blind or visually impaired, beacons paired with the app are like the signs those with full vision read each and every day.

For more information about the Chicago Lighthouse and this new technology, visit