We have been living in quarantine at our homes in many parts of the world due to the Covid-19 pandemic. With the spread of Covid19 somewhat under control and cases declining, though, a gradual process of normalization is underway in some countries. However, this process of normalization requires visually impaired individuals to be extra careful and often more vigilant than other people when it comes to protecting themselves against the disease.
For example, you may have to touch more surfaces while using public transportation, come into close contact with other people more when you ask for help while on the go, or even if you don’t ask for help, people may still approach you for the purpose of helping you and violate the social distancing policies, often to the detriment of both your and their health. In addition, you may not always tell whether people who help you are wearing masks. most importantly, though, adjusting your social distance in crowded areas can be tricky.
We have compiled the technological solutions that may be useful for you in such cases.
WeWALK Navigation: The navigation experience that allows you to go anywhere without asking for directions when exploring new places
While looking for a place outside, you can explore what is around you with WeWALK and get turn by turn navigation to your destination without asking for assistance and thus without coming into contact with anyone. Moreover, even if you do not have a WeWALK smart cane, you can still use the features of the WeWALK app for free if you have a smart phone.
Find out which bus is arriving at the bus station on your own with WeWALK’s Mobile Application
Due to the pandemic, public transportation services including routes and timetables have been constantly changing in many regions throughout the world. You can now remotely check the distance of buses to the nearest bus station through WeWALK’s mobile app, which saves you especially from waiting too long at the bus stop and enables you to avoid large crowds.
Like WeWALK’s navigation feature, this feature does not require a WeWALK smart cane either and can also be used by anyone who has a compatible smart phone.
Keep your social distance while standing in lines with the WeWALK smart cane
The best protection against the virous is to pay attention to the social distance and observe the 1.5-meter (six feet) rule. This is an important disadvantage especially for visually impaired individuals who have a hard time adjusting their distance relative to other people around them. To solve this problem, you can be more aware of what’s around you by setting the obstacle detection distance of your WeWALK to 150 CM, that is, the recommended social distance that should be between you and other people. Thanks to the WeWALK smart cane and its obstacle detection feature, you can adjust your social distance with the person in front of you and behind you as well as keep getting notified of other stationary obstacles around you. You can track whether the person in front of you is moving or not with your WeWALK as well.
WeWALK can be pre-ordered until July. You can preorder a WeWALK smart cane via https://wewalk.io/orderwewalk/ and get a discount of up to $209.
Get video support with Be My Eyes or Aira
When they go out, individuals with visual disabilities may need help from sighted people due to accessibility problems at certain points of the outside experience. In these cases, it is not recommended for people to come into close contact with you. It is true that you can warn people who assist you not to touch you or instruct them to give you audible guidance, but they may disregard your warnings. In these instances, you can use services that provide remote assistance. For example, you can take advantage of applications such as Be My eyes or Aira when crossing a street or searching for the entrance of a place. With these applications, you can connect to remote assistants via video and request that they guide you by using your phone’s camera.
Be My Eyes: An app through which you can get assistance from volunteers via your phone’s camera.
Be My Eyes is an application with a wide network of volunteers in many countries. With this application, you can make a video call with a volunteer and get support for free.
For example, when you come to a street you want to cross, you can connect to a volunteer and ask them to check the arrival of cars through your phone’s camera and guide you until you have safely crossed the street.
Aira: A paid service that allows you to get help from professional assistants.
Like Be My Eyes, you can use Aira in places where you need sighted assistance. Aira is a paid service and you need to purchase a plan to use it. You can get information about payment plans and learn in which regions the application is available on the company’s website.