Orientation via Beacons
Every semester, new students begin their studies at the KIT and have to find their way on the campus. Orientation on the campus and in buildings is not easy at first but with the aid of the KIT campus map, the campus navigator and overview plans for buildings within buildings it is still doable for normal sighted persons. For students with a visual impairment this is much more difficult. Blind students learn the most important ways on the campus at the beginning of their studies, such as from the tram stop to the cafeteria, to the SZS and possibly to the relevant lecture hall buildings of their study subject in an orientation and mobility training. However, if these paths are not taken every day, they are difficult to find again at a later stage. Also, the orientation within buildings is difficult, e.g. finding doors to rooms, toilets, ramps for wheelchair users and much more.
The aim of the project is to improve the orientation using Beacons (Small sensors, which communicate with Bluetooth). For this purpose, several beacons with appropriate information are installed on the campus, which can be viewed by all students by means of a barrier-free app. The information mainly contains important information for students with limitations, e.g. the announcement of the floors for the elevator, if this is not yet accessible. If a student approaches a beacon with the app enabled, he automatically receives the available information on his smartphone. As an example, some beacons are placed at the Welcome Desk in the student office in order to simplify the drawing of a ticket number and finding the appropriate switch for processing this ticket.
It also contains information on barrier-free entrances or possible alternative paths through other buildings, basements, etc. for physical restrictions so that students can quickly see if and how their destination is accessible to them.
The project is an interdisciplinary collaboration between the research group Prof. Abeck, Research Group Cooperation & Management (C & M), the Representative for Students with Disabilities and Chronic Diseases, and the Study Centre for the Visually Impaired (SZS).
04.2017 - 03.2018