Evergreen State student Zackery Hurtz has lived his entire life blind.
“I live in a world that wasn’t built for me,” said Hurtz, who was diagnosed with eye cancer when he was a baby and had both his eyes removed. “The world I live in was built for the average person.”
Hurtz’s experiences led to an interest in finding ways to make it easier for visually impaired people like him to access informational signs and navigate indoor and outdoor spaces. Eventually, he helmed the Reference Point Navigation app.
Hurtz started developing RPN while earning his bachelor’s degree with the help of a team of fellow students. It is now a prototype and ready to be developed and used by the millions of users who could benefit from it.
To help get his app into the mainstream, Hurtz has started a GoFundMe campaign.
As explained on its GoFundMe site, RPN is designed to guide users through indoor and outdoor spaces like parks, entertainment venues, airports, hospitals, school campuses, and cities. The app also provides access to everyday signs and information that give the user the same information that sighted people can easily access.
RPN doesn’t need a constant connection to GPS and can guide users around in zones with no signal. It uses an array of built-in sensors and navigation techniques to tell the user where they are and what their next step is.
Head to the app’s website for more information.