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Group aims to develop more mobile apps for visually impaired

Group aims to develop more mobile apps for visually impaired

Taipei, Dec. 29 (CNA) A free mobile application that can read out the floor guide of a shopping mall in southern Taiwan has been unveiled recently with the aim of helping the visually impaired live more independently, a local group said Saturday. Soon after Pingtung Global Mall opened on Dec. 15, engineers and programmers from Chunghwa Telecom Co., Taiwan's biggest telecom carrier, and Tamkang University jointly unveiled the first-ever shopping app for the visually impaired in Taiwan. With the app, visually impaired people can easily get hold of the latest information of the shopping mall, said Eric Yang, public relations director of the Taipei-based Technology Development Association for the Disabled, one of the project's main initiators.
They can download the app onto their smart phone and once arriving at the mall, play it to find out what each floor has to offer.
The app can read out the information the user wants to know and help users locate the store they want to go to, according to Yang. "In its initial stage, the app is the second generation of our previous 'mobile assistant' released in June, and we're still working on further improvements," Yang told CNA. At this stage, the shopping app can only provide a floor guide for the mall, Yang said, adding that the next step is to put in information about the products and prices at each store, especially restaurants or stalls at the food court, which he said is more essential. There are over 60,000 visually impaired people in Taiwan, according to government figures. Yang is hoping the visually impaired can lead a more independent life with such apps. "It's just a beginning. We aim to cooperate with as many stores and restaurants as possible," he said. Yang also plans to work with convenience stores in the near future. The app only runs on the Android operating system, and free workshops will be held to help those interested in learning how to install and operate the software, the association said. (By James Lee)


Updated : 2021-05-08 23:38 GMT+08:00