Ece Çelik- ANKARA
A chemical engineer has developed a groundbreaking application that offers location guidance and indoor navigation to visually impaired individuals.
Ersin Güray, a chemical engineer who has been actively involved in activities related to equal participation for visually impaired individuals in life during his education at the Middle East Technical University’s (ODTÜ) Chemical Engineering Department, worked in the private sector for a while.
Driven by the vision of improving the lives of visually impaired individuals, he launched the PoiLabs project. Established in 2015 with the support of the non-governmental organization Young Guru Academy, PoiLabs appeared as an indoor navigation system designed specifically for the visually impaired. Through this application, users can hear the names of shops as they pass by them in shopping malls.
“The project extends beyond shopping malls, as it has facilitated wayfinding for visually impaired individuals in numerous locations,” Güray stated.
“Visually impaired individuals face several challenges in their daily lives. One of them is finding direction. This constant dependence on others hinders their ability to live independently and often leads to social isolation. That’s why we collaborated with visually impaired individuals to develop indoor navigation technology, enabling them to engage in daily activities without relying on others.”
Noting that they have completed five projects supported by the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Türkiye (TÜBİTAK) and currently have two active projects, Güray said that they continue to enhance their product by working with visually impaired individuals, conducting tests, and focusing on both the technological aspect and user feedback.
“With increasing demand, we expanded this technology to different venues. Today, our services facilitate the participation of visually impaired individuals in education, employment, and entertainment in various locations such as shopping malls, museums, stores, libraries, airports, offices, and universities. Our services are currently operating in more than 150 locations across all 81 provinces of Türkiye.”