The accessibility tool is based on color codes that can be read with a smartphone at more than 10 meters and guide the user, and 35 points have already been implemented
Benidorm launches the innovative NaviLens people guidance system in the Old Town
This project works in cities like New York
Benidorm City Council has launched the innovative NaviLens people guidance system in the Old Town. A tool of "Spanish creativity that facilitates accessibility for people with visual disabilities but that can be used by any user and that offers multiple complementary applications to guidance that will be explored in later phases", as explained by the mayor, Toni Pérez.
As reported by the mayor, "this first phase focuses on the operation of NaviLens for guiding people in the Old Town, where there are all the accessibility conditions because the streets have no sidewalks.
Toni Pérez has detailed that NaviLens is “an evolution of QR codes, developed by the company Neosistec in collaboration with the Mobile Vision Research Laboratory of the University of Alicante”. These colour codes "can be read with smartphones and it is a free application, it can be used from a long distance, in motion and without the need for focus".
Smartphones are capable of detecting NaviLens codes at distances between 4 and 15 meters. The information obtained is read by the terminal, which immediately interprets it, the georeference expands it with the documentation that we want to highlight and transforms it into audio to be heard.
In addition, this 'app' available for Android and IOS allows the translation of information into the user's language automatically and can even provide a visual message in sign language, a high-tech innovation.
"It is, therefore -the mayor pointed out, a system that is very easy to use and that by reporting information, via audio and in the recipient's language, will be decisive in expanding the range of possibilities and consolidating accessibility and innovation, two of the pillars of the Smart Tourist Destination”.
This guidance tool is "absolutely in tune with the city's Universal and Tourist Accessibility plans, and allows us to move forward with our goal of achieving full accessibility and doing so as soon as possible." In addition, this project has been supported by the Ministry of Equality and Inclusive Policies with a subsidy of 17,952.17 euros within the aid program for the improvement of accessibility conditions to the physical environment.
NaviLens codes are already installed and operational in 35 points of squares and streets of the Old Town.
These codes are already used in the 'packaging' of a multinational food grain company, bus stops and subway stations in New York, and in some Spanish cities such as Murcia -where Neosistec tested its codes and application for the first time-, Madrid, Barcelona and Cordoba.
Later phases of development
In addition to giving visibility to the tool in municipal spaces and communication channels, the City Council will inform different entities and organizations that work for accessibility and with people who have some type of disability on the national level of the launch of NaviLens as is the case of PREDIF (State Representative Platform for People with Physical Disabilities) or ONCE organization.
With the first phase of guidance already operational, the City Council "considers its implementation in other parts of the city and possible future uses and applications of this tool". For example, Toni Pérez has advanced, "in a next phase, audio guides with historical, heritage and any tourist information could be incorporated into these NaviLens audios, as well as relevant information that the user should know and that could be provided in real-time".