Tech Tuesday: MSU Student develops app to help students with disabilities

Tech Tuesday

BERLIN, GERMANY – SEPTEMBER 16: A visitor tries out an Apple iPhone 7 on the first day of sales of the new phone at the Berlin Apple store on September 16, 2016 in Berlin, Germany. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

EAST LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – Navigating a campus as large as Michigan State University can be tricky for anyone, especially if you’re new to the area. It’s especially difficult for new students with visual disabilities.

One Spartan is trying to make the challenge a little easier.

Packed sidewalks, busy streets, and a confusing layout can be a nightmare for people with sensory impairments and disabilities. Adi Mathew is developing an app that can help students with disabilities navigate the streets of East Lansing.

“Doing simple things in apps that may seem like a convenience absolutely changes lives for individuals with disabilities,” said Mathew.

Mathew noticed the challenges that vision-impaired students face while attending MSU. That’s why in 2013 he started developing an app called MSU Guide.

MSU Guide began operating in 2015. It allows students to point their phones in any given direction and detect buildings they’re near.

“That in itself is awesome because now they know what building they’re facing and they can kind of navigate using that.”

This allows students with impairments to get around campus a little easier. Now, Mathew says he’s working on a version that lets users know what is inside those buildings.

“You may want to know student services, where is that in the building? And we also allow you to use that same magic compass functionality within buildings.”

Mathew says that MSU Guide has been downloaded over 50,000 times and was in the top 50 most searched navigation apps on the Apple App Store.

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