Clew Maps is an update to a preexisting iOS App for indoor navigation called Clew. Presently, blind and visually impaired (BVI) individuals struggle to navigate unfamiliar spaces, and often have to rely on navigation instructions from a sighted guide. Clew Maps introduces a cloud database that can store pre-recorded routes that users can navigate along in an App Clip experience. This means that even non-Clew users can utilize the navigation tool without downloading the app, and that routes can be navigated by an individual without them having to walk along the route to record it ahead of time. Clew Maps robustly anchors the device utilizing ARKit’s ARImageAnchors; however, more work is required to better understand the potential use cases and address potential pain points for BVI individuals, such as
route discovery and aligning to image anchors.
Clew Maps reimagines Clew as an app that crowdsources routes for indoor navigation and repurposes the existing
backend code base to better serve this purpose by alleviating the pain points inherent to the current route-sharing mode of use. By implementing image anchoring to improve the robustness of the anchoring and alignment process, and by using a cloud database for route storage along with a new user interface (UI) to address the limitations of sharing routes in Clew, Clew Maps makes independent travel in unfamiliar public spaces more accessible
for people with blindness and visual impairments (B/VI).
With augmented reality technology that can accurately track a smartphone’s motion through 3D space becoming more prevalent,
assistive technology researchers saw the opportunity to utilize it for navigation purposes. For the past few years, Paul Ruvolo and his team have been developing Clew, a free iPhone app that helps blind and visually impaired individuals navigate recorded routes indoors. This summer, my work has centered around the addition of rerouting and pausing capabilities for the Clew app. This report will conclude with the discussion of future opportunities and limitations of the app.