As Israel marked “Blind Day” on Tuesday, the Knesset launched an audio guidance system to assist visually impaired individuals and those with orientation difficulties to navigate the parliament.
Marked annually, “Blind Day” is meant to enhance awareness of and empathy towards the blind community in the Jewish state.
“The innovative system that helps make the Knesset accessible includes a management and control module and approximately 55 sensors operating on Bluetooth, scattered throughout points of interest in the complex,” said Sharon Cohen, head of Systems and Applications in the Technology and Computing Division of the Knesset.
“Through a dedicated and free application on the user’s personal phone, individuals with disabilities can navigate the Knesset premises,” she added.
The system, developed by Israeli startup RightHear with the backing of the Menomadin Foundation, connects a dedicated mobile application to strategically placed wireless beacons in public spaces and accessibility points. It provides audio descriptions of the environment and directly transmits them to smartphones or tablets.
Cohen further explained that when arriving at a point of interest or a junction, the user can call for assistance from a nearby usher and access additional extensive information about their location, including when plenary sessions are taking place.
“The Knesset will continue to work towards making the premises accessible to people with disabilities and will enable all visitors to experience the best of the country’s democracy,” said Knesset director general Moshe Chico Edri.
“We are proud to showcase the technological initiatives that we implement in the Knesset, with an ongoing commitment to progress and innovation,” he added.