This morning I caught this article on the register, a group from the University of Michigan has developed a bluetooth based broadcasting system called Talking-Points, designed to relay information to mobile devices about the surrounding area. Bluetooth beacons are be placed throughout a location, when a bluetooth enabled device passes a beacon it receives the unique tag id of the beacon and connects to the project’s website for the message to be played. This message could be used to pass any kind of information to the user of the mobile device. The initial design appears to have been to alert the blind to hazards in their vicinity, however it appears to be expanding to allow store owners of proclaim their services. Projects like this really capture my interest, while I feel that there are several technical challenges that the team will need to overcome this project has great potential. If correctly implemented this technology would improve the lives of many with visual impairments. The project is being presented this week at the Accessible Design in the Digital World Conference in York.
For more information please see the team’s project page here.