Restaurant Installs Technology to Help Visually Impaired

Maldaner’s Restaurant is the first downtown business — but likely not the last — to install technology to help visually impaired individuals access the business, thanks to a partnership with Sensible Innovations, also a DSI member and an Innovate Springfield member. Sensible Innovations is a Springfield-based technology company whose Aware audible way-finding app for visually impaired people was recently named Consumer Electronics Show 2018 Innovation Awards Honoree.

Aware works with iBeacons, to provide indoors and outdoors turn-by-turn navigational directions, and location descriptions, designed with a focus on visually impaired people, and plays in real time where and when it matters.

“Our visually impaired customers can now order from the menu, without asking a sighted person for help, because it is listed in the app. They can also easily navigate the restaurant without assistance allowing them the independence they deserve,’ said Chef Higgins. “For us, installing the iBeacons was a no-brainer. Why wouldn’t you want to make your business accessible for all?”

To download the app, search “Aware Wayfinding Sensible Innovations” in your app store.

As Chef Higgins is the first proprietor in downtown Springfield to install the technology required for Aware, Sensible Innovations founder and CEO Rasha Said is championing Chef Higgins’ commitment to his patrons.

“Michael and I collaborated on this project to encourage other local businesses, especially those downtown, to install the iBeacon technology to allow people who are visually impaired the same opportunities, when dining, as those who are sighted,” said Rasha.

Sensible Innovations is a member of Innovate Springfield, a social innovation and business incubator situated in downtown Springfield. Katie Davison, the organization’s executive director said, “We think this is only the beginning for the Aware app to penetrate the Springfield market. The opportunities for the app to provide way-finding assistance to the Springfield community are endless.”

Aware is making a positive impact on the lives of visually impaired people across the city and further afield.

Downtown Springfield, Inc. executive director Lisa Clemmons Stott said she was extremely excited about the launch of Aware at Maldaner’s, which is a member of DSI, “As the ‘front door’ of Springfield, downtown businesses welcome people from around the world. Chef Higgins is leading the way to even more inclusivity by utilizing this technology. Wouldn’t it be fantastic if downtown Springfield was the first neighborhood in the nation to support visually-impaired individuals in this way?”

Rasha and her team have placed iBeacons at Glenwood High School in Chatham and Mary Bryant Home for the Blind in Springfield, the Rosa Parks Hempstead Transit Center in New York and at The Chicago Lighthouse.

Aware has a US utility patent and was coded by Springfield-based Levi, Ray & Shoup Web Solutions.

For more information visit sensible-innovations.com.

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