Innovative System may revolutionise cruise ships’ accessibility for blind or visually impaired travellers

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RA’ANANA, ISRAEL – An innovative solution for accessibility and orientation of blind and visually impaired persons, developed by RightHear, will make cruises completely accessible to blind and visually impaired passengers. The solution is based on lessons learned in successful implementation of RightHear’s technology in hotels, restaurants and entertainment venues. The system will allow blind and visually impaired passengers to orient themselves independently across cruise ships.

“Today, on some cruise ships blind travellers can use braille signs, but they cannot walk independently around the ship like seeing people,” said Idan Meir, RightHear’s CEO. “The RightHear system provides accurate voice guidance to the blind and visually impaired, including a detailed description of the immediate environment in which they are located, voice guidance about where they are headed, and a description of obstacles to be avoided.”

The blind and visually impaired persons (as well as orientation challenged individuals) receive the real-time audio descriptions through their own smartphone. The voice notifications are based on information received from Bluetooth beacons (sensors) located in the area. The sensors are installed by the on-site staff, who simply attach them to the wall with a sticker. In addition, the system includes an administrator dashboard, allowing the staff to program and control the system optimally, according to the needs of blind and visually impaired visitors.

“A cruise ship is a combination of a large hotel and a lot of entertainment facilities and restaurants,” said Meir. “We analysed the lessons learned from our implementations in hotels, theatres and restaurants, and came up with a solution that would allow cruise companies to make their ships accessible for blind and visually impaired persons. For the blind there is a considerable addition of recreational options, and for the cruise companies this is an addition of many potential vacationers who have so far avoided cruising.”

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