Navigating airports can be tricky. They’re loud, crowded and not always laid out intuitively. They’re even more challenging for visually impaired people.
Chieko Asakawa knows those challenges firsthand, and she has also devised a remedy.
Asakawa has been blind since she was 14 and is now an IBM Fellow and a professor in Carnegie Mellon University’s Robotics Institute. This spring, she and other researchers at Carnegie Mellon launched a navigation app for Pittsburgh International Airport that provides turn-by-turn audio instructions to users on how to get to their destination, be it a departure gate, restaurant or restroom.
Pittsburgh is one of a growing number of airports around the globe to provide wayfinding apps. The Pittsburgh app, called NavCog, was first used at the Carnegie Mellon campus and works almost like an indoor GPS.