Devices Offering Great Solutions (DOGS)

Orientation and Wayfinding

Devices to help blind people get around

What does it do?

Orientation tools can help you figure out where you are, what direction you need to travel, and whether there are any barriers in your way.

What kinds of wayfinding products are there?


Many mapping and navigation devices use Global Positioning Satellite (GPS) technology. GPS can pinpoint your location typically within 2530 feet by sending a signal to a satellite and sending your location information based on stored maps in your device or app. Turn-by-turn instructions are spoken aloud either while in a vehicle or while walking. One example of a GPS-enabled device is the Victor Reader Trek.

Indoor navigation is provided by wayfinding beacons or indoor maps stored in cloud services. Wayfinding apps are designed for use by persons who are blind. You can use this technology to follow turn-by-turn directions and hear points of interest (locations that have a descriptive tag) to help with understanding where you are in your environment.

Obstacle Detection

Obstacle detection devices can be handheld or wearable. They may be built into a white cane or a phone app. Examples include Buzz Clip, Sunu Band, and WeWalk Cane. Each device uses sonar detection to locate an obstacle and send feedback with sounds or vibrations. The detection range can be set for indoor or outdoor use.

Related Apps

Apps can use a combination of sounds and vibration feedback to give directions or alert to barriers in the foot path.

Woman with a white cane crosses a street holding a Trek audio device.

How do I see what's new?

Technology changes all the time. To find out about the latest options for these, you can type keywords into a search engine such as Google, Safari, Firefox, or Bing on a computer or tablet. These are the keywords for this type of item:

GPS devices, talking travel apps for blind, obstacle detection for the blind, blind navigation tools, wearable sonar

How do I find out more?

If you live in the US outside of Pennsylvania you would need to find your state's AT program.

If you live in Pennsylvania:

  • you could contact TechOWL to work with a specialist. We can meet with you and sometimes demonstrate this equipment. We can also help with different ways to get one for your own.
  • you might borrow this equipment to try out. Do we have this in our lending library?


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Jule Ann Lieberman

Jule Ann Lieberman has earned her Master of Science in Low Vision Therapy, is dual certified by Academy for Certification of Vision Rehabilitation and Education Professionals ( as Low Vision Therapist and Assistive Technology Instructional Specialist. Jule Ann began her work in assistive technology instructing blind and low vision adults in the use of assistive technology in 1998. She joined TechOWL, Institute on Disabilities at Temple University (formerly known as Pennsylvania’s Initiative on Assistive Technology) in 2013 as Assistive Technology Specialist and continues to provide information and assistance, consultation, demonstrations, and public awareness training in the use of assistive technology. Jule Ann has presented educational sessions at national and regional assistive technology conferences for many years. She has been legally blind with a progressive vision impairment since age of 16 and enjoys learning new technologies and how it meets the needs of those with vision loss and blindness.

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