Feb 08, 2012 Luke Henry

High Tech Invention for Visually Impaired

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Woman holding two different brands of canned goods in a grocery store

Every weekend my grandma goes grocery shopping and buys hundreds of dollars worth of food. She buys ingredients to make many dishes for my whole family. Last weekend, I decided to assist my grandma with her grocery shopping. I knew that we had a huge party planned for my grandparent’s birthdays and that she would probably need help pushing the cart or loading the items into her car. Also, due to old age, I knew it was starting to get difficult for her to read food labels. As I was looking for noodles for my grandma’s soup, I noticed this lady down the aisle that was standing by the pasta sauces but looked very confused. I walked over to ask if she needed some help. She told me that she was looking for a specific pasta sauce and that she’s also visually impaired. I helped her get her sauce and when she walked away, I started to think about technologies that would help the visually impaired with their grocery shopping and also, help elders who are starting to have blurred vision.

When someone is visually impaired, it can take much longer to navigate around and find everything they’re looking for.  After finally locating the aisle and the right section, the toughest part is pinpointing a certain product hidden among the overwhelming selection. Just like the lady I met, she probably wasted so much of her time at this one store. However, there may be help on the way!

Recently, the supermarket chain Casino has set up a lab to test using Near Field Communication (NFC) tagging technology in Paris. This High Tech invention was specifically designed to aid individuals who are visually impaired, blind, and physically challenged find what they need in a grocery store.  How this works is that a product barcode is detected and is scanned using a smartphone or the newest, Ipads, and it would provide the details of a product. The details, including its name, pricing, and the ingredient list would be read aloud. This way the disabled would be able to find the exact product they’re looking for a

Grocery shopping tools for the visually impaired

lot faster and easier. Also, Personal settings can be programmed in ahead of time that would help each individual before they go to the grocery store.

If these new High Tech Invention test results come out to be successful, I will be so happy for the visually impaired to be able to use this device to assist their needs. This could also help elders that have difficulty reading labels with small fonts just like my grandma. I will have high hopes for many grocery store chains to adopt this helpful technology to lure in more customers. Paris gave us this idea and America must look into this!

Do you believe that this device could be beneficial assistance for the visually impaired? Have you heard of any other techniques to use while navigating through aisles? Thanks for Reading! Please leave comments below 🙂

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