sunnuntai 10. kesäkuuta 2012

Response to user feedback – Do we need a new feature called “Speech History”

BlindSquare has been out for just for few weeks and it’s already been used in all continents of the world. I've get lot of feedback about how it is helping blind people around the world.
Most of the feedback is positive but I think we still have lot work to be done in an area of combining user needs, technology and social data. That’s why I love to receive suggestions how to make BlindSquare even better.
For feedback you can use Feedback button in app itself or Twitter. Just post a tweet with a hashtag #blindsquare with your thoughts. Some of the questions I answer by email or replying the tweet. If answer turns to be lengthy I will make a blog posting referring to question. And that’s what I’m going to do right now.
@fredshead: Has anyone used the blindsquare app on their iPhone? What’s your opinion?
@davetaylor2112: @fredshead I like it, a lot of potential, the more foursquare integration it gets the better
@ilkkapirttimaa (this is me): More 4sq is coming. At least these: Shouting, scores, tips, menus, phone number/calling.. What else?
@davetaylor2112: Let me play a little and think, all sounds good though, great app
@davetaylor2112 First thing is to be able to review what is spoken using VO throughout app please
To understand the question fully I need to explain some aspects of the application.
Basically BlindSquare has two modes:
1) Active mode: You can use application via iOS user interface: Browse categories, search, check in to foursquare venue etc. You can do this via iOS’s VoiceOver (VO) function where devices internal speech synthesis is in use. It basically reads aloud what’s in screen (see demo: )
2) Passive mode: When you are walking in the street, BlindSquare starts to talk you what’s around you. Using VoiceOver for this kind of rich flow of speech is not possible, that’s why I use additional text-to-speech synthesis from Acapela (
When using app in Mode 1, you have full control over every aspect. When using app in Mode 2, you’re more or less a listener. BlindSquare just helps you to make sense what’s around you. To have more control in mode 2 you can use iControlPad bluetooth controller attached to your stick or dogs harness. WIth that you can start to track a place when you hear it mentioned. You can also make a search, search by category, changes radius, look around etc. without even touching your iPhone. It also enables you to use iPad on a street providing whole day battery life. Even with that, if you miss something that BlindSquare reported, there is no way to go back in time.
Should we add a new feature to BlindSquare: Speech History. When activated you would get a list of all places mentioned, latest first. You could go list through with VoiceOver or bluetooth controller. From the list you could start tracking, check in, get address, call phone number etc.
Is this something that would solve this issue?

maanantai 28. toukokuuta 2012

PRESS RELEASE 29th of May 2012

New iOs app from Finland: BlindSquare helps blind and partially sighted
people to improve their everyday life

A Finnish company MIPSoft has developed a new mobile application for persons with visual
impairments. This application, BlindSquare, provides visually impaired people new ways to
get information on their surroundings. BlindSquare has recently been launched in Apple App
Store and is currently available for iPad and iPhone.

BlindSquare combines GPS location information, speech synthesis and information from
open data sources in order to provide the desired information for its user. It can tell a blind
person the address of their current location, where the nearest street crossing is, shops and
services found in a certain area - and much more. It can even assist the user to get off the
bus at the right stop or guide them to a certain place. BlindSquare speaks English, Finnish
and Swedish, the speech synthesis is provided by Acapela Group.

MIPsoft has been developing this application in close co-operation with the Finnish Federation
of the Visually Impaired. It has been tested by several blind users - some even from the USA
and Australia.

MIPsoft, founded in 1989, is a software company specialized in developing applications for
mobile smartphones. Its best known applications are Kyyti, assisting public transport users,
and Kierrätys, which helps you to find all recycling centers in Finland.

Finnish Federation of the Visually Impaired ( FFVI) is a national organisation with the aim of
securing blind and partially sighted people an equal status with other Finnish citizens. FFVI
produces special information services and participates in developing special information and
mobility solutions.

More info:
Inventor Ilkka Pirttimaa, MIPsoft Oy, tel. +358-50-389-0022
Programmer Heikki Ekola, FFVI, tel. +358-50-596-5033

BlindSquare at iTunes App Store:

BlindSquare home page:

The blog of Ronja Oja, who has been test using the BlindSquare app (in Finnish):


Suomalainen mobiilisovellus helpottamaan sokeiden ja heikkonäköisten arkea

Suomalainen MIPSoft on kehittänyt mobiililaitteisiin ohjelmiston, joka tarjoaa
näkövammaisille uusia tapoja havainnoida ympäristöä. BlindSquare on Applen
sovelluskaupassa juuri julkaistu iPhone/iPad -sovellus, joka yhdistää paikkatiedon,
puhesynteesin ja joukon avoimen datan lähteitä. Puhesynteesi tukee suomen, englannin ja
ruotsin kieltä.

BlindSquaren avulla sokea henkilö kuulee mm. sijaintinsa mukaisen osoitteen, lähimmän
risteyksen, ilmansuunnat sekä halutun säteen etäisyydeltä löytyvät ravintolat, kaupat ja
muut palvelut. Sovellus osaa myös opastaa kulkemaan haluttuun kohteeseen tai jäämään
pois halutulla bussipysäkillä.

Sovelluksen on kehittänyt MIPsoft yhteistyössä Näkövammaisten Keskusliiton kanssa.
Sen testaukseen on osallistunut sokeita myös USA:sta ja Australiasta.

MIPsoft Oy on 1989 perustettu ohjelmistoyritys, joka kehittää älypuhelinsovelluksia.
Tunnetuimpia sovelluksia on Kyyti, joka palvelee julkisen liikenteen käyttäjiä, sekä
Kierrätys, jolla löytää kierrätyspisteet koko Suomen alueella.

Näkövammaisten Keskusliitto ry on valtakunnallinen järjestö, jonka tärkeimpänä
tehtävänä on valvoa ja edistää näkövammaisten yhdenvertaisuutta suhteessa muuhun
väestöön. Liitto tuottaa mm. näkövammaisten tiedonsaantia helpottavia erityispalveluita
sekä osallistuu näkövammaisten liikkumista ja tiedonsaantia helpottavien ratkaisujen


Keksijä Ilkka Pirttimaa, MIPsoft Oy, p. 050 389 0022
ATK-suunnittelija Heikki Ekola, Näkövammaisten Keskusliitto ry, p. 050 596 5003

BlindSquare-käyttäjä Ronja Ojan blogi:

Sovellus App Storessa:

Sovelluksen kotisivut:

sunnuntai 27. toukokuuta 2012

BlindSquare auttaa näkövammaisia paikkojen löytämisessä 

BlindSquare on sovellus, joka auttaa näkövammaisia uusien teknologioiden avulla. Se on kehitetty yhteistyössä sokeiden kanssa. Tarvitset sen käyttöön joko iPhonen tai iPadin. BlindSquare tukee myös lisälaitteita, joilla saadaan aikaan kädet vapaana toiminnallisuus. 

BlindSquare käyttää GPS:ää ja kompassia sinun paikallistamiseen. Se hakee lähistön paikkoja FourSquare-palvelusta ja kertoo niistä suosituimmat halutun säteen sisältä. 

“Mikä on suosituin kahvila 200 metrin säteellä? Missä on posti? Missä on lähin kirjasto?” 

Voit valita haluamasi kohteen, jolloin BlindSquare avustaa sinut sinne kertoen etäisyyden sekä suunnan. Ravistamalla laitetta kuulet sijaintisi: Osoite, lähin risteys ja kompassisuunta. Voit myös merkitä omia paikkoja tai jakaa niitä FourSquare-kavereiden kanssa. 

BlindSquare puhuu suomea, englantia ja ruotsia. VoiceOver on tuettu, mutta varsinaiseen puheeseen käytetään Acapelan laadukkaista puhesynteesejä. 

tiistai 22. toukokuuta 2012

BlindSquare is a new solution that combines the latest technology to help the daily life of the blind. It has been developed together with blind people and carefully field tested. You need either an iPhone or iPad to get started. It also supports some additional accessories to make it even better.

How it works?

BlindSquare uses GPS and compass to locate you. It gets information of the surrounding environment from FourSquare. BlindSquare has some unique algorithms to decide what information is the most relevant and then speaks it with high quality speech synthesis.

“What is the most popular café within 200 meters radius? Where is the post office or the library?”

Whenever BlindSquare tells you about a place you like, you can mark it and BlindSquare will assist you there.
You can always shake the device and listen to information about your location: Address, nearest crossing, compass direction and the kind of services can be found from different directions.
You can also mark your private places or share information about places with your friends.

BlindSquare supports following languages: English, Finnish and Swedish. VoiceOver usage is supported but it also has additional speech synthesis by Acapela Text-To-Speech from Acapela Group.

App Store: