Visually impaired students broaden their world with technology

Written by Nick Weiss and Radio Pennsylvania | Jul 26, 2015 8:00 AM
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(State College) -- Students at this year's Summer Academy for the Blind and Visually Impaired at Penn State have a new tool to help them get around campus.

It's an app called BlindSquare, which uses GPS data to tell the user where they are, what's around them and how to move forward.

"The cool thing about it is, the app can be talking to them and explaining to them as they're walking into a building or walking down the street, what's surrounding them, but it can also hear the conversation of the person that they're with, so it's not shutting them off from the ambient sounds, or the other sounds of what's going on around them," says Sara Goulet, spokeswoman for the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry.

This is the second year for the academy at Penn State. Students used to go to a smaller school in Johnstown.

Goulet says the Summer Academy aims to help students transitioning from high school to college to use new technology, build useful skills and open doors for students becoming more independant.

"Some of these kids have not really used a lot of the technology, because the world's been somewhat small and now it really broadens and makes their world bigger, which is great," says Goulet.

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