overTHERE was a free iPhone app that gave blind pedestrians quick and easy access to accurate location information about businesses and other points of interest in the world. Users simply pointed the phone in a direction to hear what’s “over there,” and audio cues made it easy to quickly and accurately pinpoint exact locations of businesses and addresses.
overTHERE grew out of Smith-Kettlewell's Virtual Talking Signs project. The app used an interface based on Talking Signs – a system of infrared transmitters and receivers that Smith-Kettlewell originally developed to make signage accessible for blind pedestrians. The original Talking Signs system allowed the location of a transmitter to be determined by moving the receiver back and forth across the beam of a transmitter until the strongest signal is heard. overTHERE utilized a similar interface, offering many of the advantages of Talking Signs, but the transmitters were Google map pins and the receiver was the iPhone.
Smith-Kettlewell offered overTHERE as a free, powerful demonstration of this compelling virtual Talking Signs interface for use in providing accessible environmental information. overTHERE did not attempt to compete with the scope and power of other accessible GPS apps with their rich feature sets and route navigation. Rather, overTHERE was a simple app that performed a SINGLE job -- telling the user quickly and intuitively what is "over there."
While overTHERE is not currently working, we are currently seeking funding and support for a *new version.* Please feel free to contact us with questions or comments about the app or related research by sending e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
Smith-Kettlewell's work on overTHERE was made possible by a grant from NIDRR supporting our Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center on Low Vision and Blindness. This app would not have been possible without the incredible technical expertise, generosity, and patience of the developers -- Dmitrijs Prohorenkovs and Ivette Doss of LABS301.