Image courtesy American Printing House for the Blind
The American Printing House for the Blind (APH), located on Frankfort Ave., recorded the first audio book in the world in its basement. Now it is helping create technology that helps the visually navigate indoors and outdoors safely.
GoodMaps Explore is an accessible navigation application created by GoodMaps. Louisville Future sat down with CEO Jose Gaztambide to discuss the tech behind the product.
In a nutshell, how does the tech work?
Gaztambide: We are using lidar (light detection and ranging) with imagery recognition to map the indoors and outdoors to help people who are blind and visually impaired navigate the world around them. Lidar has become more mainstream because it's the technology that’s being used in self-driving vehicles.
How did the company come about?
Gaztambide: We were born out of the APH. They funded the creation of this company out of their endowment.
We’ve been around for about a year and a half. We looked around and wondered why indoor mapping and indoor navigation hadn’t taken off. We identified three issues that we needed to concentrate on and we're now working on solving those things and are in the process of rolling out and raising some funds.
What were the issues you identified?
Gaztambide: The first one was the speed of mapping the indoors. It’s historically been a pretty manual process. For example, a local library did their own mapping about three years ago. It took their team two and a half weeks to map the library.
We're using lidar to conduct indoor mapping and have created a mobile backpack device. We conducted the same scan in about 17 or 18 minutes. So we've just drastically reduced the time that it takes to map.
Another issue is that, while having a map is great, you have to know where you are within that map.