The Lighthouse of Houston is in the testing phase of WayAround®, an emerging adaptive technology, designed by a pair of architects with vision loss, to give on-demand details about everyday things. According to the WayAround® company website, "WayAround® is a smart assistant that lets people with blindness and vision loss know more and do more. Using a mobile app and smart audio labels, WayAround® provides customized information about the world around you. Created by two architects with vision loss, the simple tag-and-scan system promotes life-changing independence in everyday situations."
Using its free downloadable app, available for both iPhone and Android users, WayAround® utilizes the Near Field Communication (NFC) reader that already exists within smartphones. The NFC reader, when held in proximity to a WayTag, can report customized details back to the user including description, directions, and other customized messaging to improve accessibility, mobility and customer experience. Unlike QR code readers, the phone's camera app does not need to be opened in order for a WayTag to be scanned. WayTags can be added to virtually any surface, with backings that allow them to be placed on household objects, signage, doorways, metal surfaces and clothing.
The Lighthouse of Houston is committed to discovering and evaluating technologies that may assist our clients at all ages and all stages of vision loss. The WayAround® product line is currently being tested as a directional and customer service aid in the organization's headquarters, located at 3602 W. Dallas St., Houston, TX 77019. Following the testing and evaluation phase, the WayAround® product line will be considered for addition to The Lighthouse of Houston's retail store, Reflections.