The app is called Autour (French for “around”) and was developed with funding from the Canadian Internet Registration Authority’s Community Investment Program. First tested in Montreal, Autour is now ready to be launched in communities across Canada.
“Our lab has long taken an approach of focusing on technology projects with a social impact, so our experience with spatial audio and mobile interaction led us naturally to work with the visually impaired community,” explains Jeremy Cooperstock, an associate professor at McGill. ”We have truly enjoyed the experience of working with members of the community, and believe that the valuable input we received makes Autour the most user-friendly app available today – a go-to piece of technology that will improve the lives of the people who use it.”
Using GPS, Google Maps and public transit data, Autour gives users audible instructions and descriptions to help them navigate unfamiliar parts of the city.
Rather than giving mechanical directions, Autour uses directions spatialized in the correct directions, literally beckoning users as they pass.
“At CIRA, we are building a better online Canada for all Canadians and the Autour app will help Canadians living with vision loss to be more active, full participatory members of the communities in which they live, work and visit,” says David Fowler, Director of Marketing and Communications at CIRA.
Keep an ear out for Autour in the following cities:
- Quebec City
- Greater Montréal
- Thunder Bay
- Greater Vancouver
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