Reduced Inequalities

A vision of the future; technology to guide the blind in Taiwan

Taiwan



Afraid to go out

In Taiwan 5% of people are registered as disabled and 60,000 of them are either blind or visually impaired. For these city dwellers simple activities such as eating, shopping and travelling can become huge obstacles. When people with disabilities do not feel safe and confident, they often won’t leave the house, which has a huge impact on their lives and well-being.

City for all

Mobile operator Chungwha Telecom has been working since 2015 to make a more accessible city for the people of Taiwan and this has led to the development of an innovative mobile app called i4Blind.

Guided by technology

i4Blind is equipped with many inventive features all designed to overcome the day-to-day obstacles faced by the visually impaired when navigating the city. Location tracking beacons provide alerts if there are dangers on route, vicinity information identifies shops and provides information about the latest offers and promotions and a personal steward feature can even read out dishes on a restaurant menu with descriptions of ingredients and prices. Additionally, the system can be accessed by volunteers who become a virtual pair of eyes for users of the app via live video streaming.

Streets ahead

By October 2018 a highway station and two streets in Tapei and New Tapei City were connected to i4Blind with plans to extend the service to a university campus, 9 metro stations, a high speed rail station and a museum, helping thousands of visually impaired people in Taiwan live better, more independent lives.

“I am partially sighted and crossing the road has always been a struggle. The problem is the noise…you can’t hear the traffic lights when it’s safe to cross. With i4Blind I can speak live to a real person who can actually tell me what’s going on and direct me across the street safely. It makes such a difference knowing you’ve got that support right there when you need it.”

Cheng-han Liu, New Taipei City

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Taiwan

Taiwan 23.6978° N, 120.9605° E

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