Closeup of red and white OKO app icon
Accessibility & Technology

OKO App Makes Walk Signals Accessible

May 19, 2023

OKO App Makes Walk Signals Accessible

Crossing the street is a risky business when you can’t see the signal on the other side. People with vision loss develop strategies as the traffic lights become less and less visible to the eyes. Depending on the intersection, and traffic patterns, stepping off the curb can be a real leap of faith. Accessible Pedestrian Signals have been around for decades, however they are expensive to install and a challenge to maintain. In cities large and small, no matter how many audible signals exist, visually impaired people will inevitably encounter crosswalks that are not accessible. Then what? If you cannot see the pedestrian signal it is unlikely that you can turn around and hunt for another signal that is accessible. This is where the OKO app comes in.

How OKO Works

OKO is a smart camera app, that detects and reads crosswalk signals instantly, providing information in audio, visual and haptic feedback. When the camera is pointed to opposite side of street the app detects status of pedestrian signal and immediately begins to inform the user with 3 types of feedback. Play the sounds in the app to familiarize yourself before heading to the street.

  • DON’T WALK – audible tone and haptic vibration is a slow beat and Red screen means STOP
  • WALK – audible tone and haptic vibration is a fast beat and Green screen means GO
  • COUNTDOWN – audible tone and haptic vibration is a timed beat and yellow screen means WAIT

The app is similar to Seeing AI in it’s simplicity and quick response. Before you take it for a spin you’ll have to agree to the terms of use, a reminder that OKO is not a replacement for mobility devices and training. It is currently available for iOS in the United States and Belgium, with more countries in testing mode. The app developer, AEYES, is also working on a feature that will read the signs on city transit buses.

Get it on the App Store at: OKO Ai Copilot for the Blind. And when you need it, just say, “Hey Siri, Open OKO.”

Watch Video of OKO App by Sam Seavey, The Blind Life

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About the Author: Dorrie Rush

Dorrie Rush is the Chief Content Officer and Visual Accessibility Expert at Ophthalmic Edge Patients (OE Patients), an online resource, presented by the Association for Macular Diseases, providing practical information and empowering advice for living a full and successful life with vision loss.

She is the former Director of the Grunwald Technology Center and Information Resource Service at Lighthouse International 2001 to 2016. Dorrie is known to have an eccentric view, which is particularly useful in compensating for her central vision loss from Stargardt Disease.



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