Introduction Indoor navigation in hospitals can be challenging for all visitors, and even more so for patients with sight or hearing impairment. The aim of this project was to develop a mobile application to aid navigation for GOSH patients with sight or hearing impairments.
Method As part of a joint collaboration between GOSH and UCL computer science (CS) through the industry exchange network programme, CS students developed a navigational tool using GOSH DRIVE as a mapped model environment. The user’s location is determined using Aruba Meridian Bluetooth beacons and a mobile phone. The mobile application was build using the Meridian SDK provide by Aruba Meridian. App content such as maps, place markers and routes, were generated using the Meridian Editor and communicated to the app using Meridian APIs. The Meridian Editor and API are hosted on Google Cloud Services. A Google Firebase Real time Database stores user location data as communicated by the app to a NoSQL database.
Results The application developed connected with Aruba Bluetooth beacons, which are installed across parts of the hospital and provide accurate positioning of users on each floor to within 1 meter. To aid navigation for visitors with sight impairment the app was linked to the haptic device BuruNavi. This device vibrates to give the illusion of a person being pulled in a particular direction. The app allows patients to select their destination by voice command or touch with directions displayed visually, accompanied by audio cues and BuruNavi. The data from the Bluetooth beacons provides information on the most frequently used routes, this can inform design of space to facilitate.
Conclusion A prototype navigation app to support patients with sight or hearing impairments was developed. This app has the potential to make a real difference in the ability of patients to navigate the hospital.
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