Beacons Aid Accessibility in Toronto

Mohari Hospitality and SH Hotels & Resorts have just opened the re-designed 1 Hotel Toronto as part of downtown Toronto’s urban regeneration.

1 Hotel Toronto

Beacons have been placed in the communal indoor and outdoor spaces as part of CNIB’s Accessible Neighbourhoods Project. The project improves access to city areas by making them more accessible.

Improving accessibility in Toronto

The BlindSquare Beacon Positioning System (BPS) broadcasts a unique ID that’s received by smartphones. The ID is used to look up the information linked to the beacon that’s presented to the user.


There’s more detailed information on the BPS in the user guide.

Beacon Based Navigation for the Visually Impaired

There’s a useful recent research paper by Basem AL-Madani, Farid Orujov, Rytis Maskeliūnas, Robertas Damaševičius,and Algimantas Venčkauskas on Fuzzy Logic Type-2 Based Wireless Indoor Localization System for Navigation of Visually Impaired People in Buildings.

The paper explores indoor location algorithms and implements a fingerprinting system using RSSI that achieves an average error of 0.43m.

The authors’ ‘fuzzy logic type-2’ system allows for complex environments such as buildings with glass/metal corridors. They comment that fingerprinting requires pre-configuration which is one of the main disadvantages of this method.

BlindSquare and Beacons

BlindSquare is a popular accessible GPS application developed for the blind and visually impaired. It describes the environment, announces points of interest and street intersections. BlindSquare also works with iBeacons.

An example of use of BlindSquare with beacons is Melbourne Zoo that allows people with visual impairments to get to parts of the zoo that are out of bounds to guide dogs.