Wearables at Work shortlist - ViaOptaNav, sat-nav for the visually impaired

Smartwatch app brings super-useful navigation technology to the visually impaired.

Last Updated: 24 Sep 2015

There’s a good reason why mobile nav apps are so popular - they’re incredibly useful. And yet like so many phone-based systems, most such apps rely heavily on on-screen visuals. So that one group of people who really need help finding their way about - the visually impaired - are denied the benefits.

Enter today’s shortlisted entry in the MT/PA Wearables at Work Awards - ViaOptaNav, a wearable app for Apple Watch and Android Wear designed specifically for the needs of the visually impaired. What a great idea.


ViaOpta Nav

Navigation app specifically designed for the visually impaired.

Popping down to the shops might sound straightforward, but for those suffering from limited sight it’s not so easy.

Pharma firm Novartis developed its ViaOpta apps to make such daily tasks easier. This one makes full use of the unique capabilities of the Apple Watch and Android Wear devices. Voice and vibration-based guidance lets you know when you’ve reached a turn, landmark or obstacle for easy and safe navigation. You can also pinpoint your exact location and bookmark your favourite destinations.

Along with Novartis’ ViaOpta Daily app, which helps users recognise objects or even units of currency, this free to download app has the potential to help the 285 million or so visually impaired people worldwide retain their independence. Available in 12 languages, the apps have already been downloaded 15,000 times.

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