New app helps visually impaired individuals "see" art

- This is the first "look" at a new piece of technology in Charlotte. The Metrolina Association for the Blind and the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art unveiled an app Thursday that makes visual art accessible to the visually impaired.

"I don't know if it’s a stigma or a stereotype that visually impaired people are stuck at home and can't do anything. I certainly break that mold.”

Tim Spaulding certainly does. He and his guide dog “May” get out often, but he recently took his first tour at the Bechtler Museum.

"I technically still have light perception, but can't see images or anything else of that nature."

Tim has con-rod dystrophy. From childhood he slowly lost his sight.

"Everybody likes to be in their groups, but they want to be independent as well and not depend on someone to give them all the information."

But he is happy to depend on an app called Blind Square.

"To be able to walk into a place and for it to tell me where the admission desk is."

The app tells you about the layout of the room and the artwork in it.

"It means the world. I like getting out, going places, and doing things. The more places I can find to go the better.”

The Bechtler Museum of Modern Art is the first building in Charlotte to use the technology.

"The more exposure the public has to vision impaired people; the more other businesses will implement something that will support accessibility to vision impaired people.”

In partnership with the Metrolina Association for the Blind, the Bechtler is also getting results outside of the museum. The app will work up to a half a mile around to give directions in uptown.

"It will make me want to get out and wander the streets more."

With fewer obstacles to overcome and more connection to his community.

To learn more about accessibility at the Bechtler follow this link: http://www.bechtler.org/Education/Low-to-no-vision

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