Ohio College Launches Smartphone Navigation App for Blind and Low-Vision Students

This summer, Columbus State Community College (CSCC) became the first institution of higher education in the U.S. to help blind and low-vision students navigate their campus more easily with the help of a free smartphone app called BlindSquare. 

Using Bluetooth technology and GPS capabilities, BlindSquare can communicate with key locations across CSCC’s campus to give users spoken directions, providing them with periodic updates regarding how far they have traveled and how much farther they have to go. The app also gives those who are vision-impaired directions to nearby public transportation. In addition, users can save frequent campus locations on their devices for quick access. 

BlindSquare is funded by the state agency Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities as part of a larger government effort to help blind and deaf residents obtain quality education and employment. 

In reaction to the app’s release, CSCC President David Harrison, PhD, said he was proud of campus leaders for their dedication to serving students, faculty, staff, and visitors with disabilities, noting that the technology “advances [the college’s] commitment to inclusion.” In addition to BlindSquare, CSCC offers blind and low-vision students accommodations including braille, large-print media, and note-taking services. 

Ohio Gov. John Kasich is urging other state universities to implement this technology on their campuses as well. 

For more information, visit blindsquare.com.