New app helps visually impaired students navigate Fresno State

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Technology may be shaping the way we live our lives but a new app at Fresno state is bringing the visually impaired a second sight. The Be Aware app is helping students get around campus and may soon help them get around town.

As construction paves the way for a new vision at Fresno State, software developers have teamed up with the university to ensure accessibility for everyone. Visually impaired students at Fresno State are helping One Sense fine tune the Be Aware app -- an app designed to help them get around with ease.

"The app is obstacle avoidance for the visually impaired," One Sense CEO Matt Tymn said.

The Fresno-based software technology company works one-on-one with students or end users to make sure the app is doing what it promises. The platform is three components; an admin dashboard where university and software developers can monitor the app, the installer app where someone deploys GPS points or sensors for an obstacle, and the Be Aware mobile app for when a user approaches an obstacle.

A voice notification and vibration tell the user what lies ahead and the app is updated with any construction changes.

"We monitor through Facilities and Operations," Tymn explained. "So they tell us when new obstructions on campus. Fresno State's like a small city and gives us everything we need to test the product refine the product and go for further roll out."

Sounds like a skateboard passing by or running water from Fresno State's iconic fountain seem minuscule but to the visually impaired that could mean not knowing where obstacles are or how to get from point A to point B.

The idea is to increase awareness but, more importantly, bring independence to those who are visually impaired. As for what's next, the hope is to expand beyond Fresno State.

"It's amazing to see that I can have an impact on someone's life and even if it's the little things," Tymn said. "It's the things you and I take for granted."

One Sense is already in talks with various universities, K through 12's and eateries.
Copyright © 2021 KFSN-TV. All Rights Reserved.