Willem Van de Mierop (left), Mr Wonder's assistant (centre) and the singer (right)

Flemish developers introduce Stevie Wonder to app for the blind

Flemish developers who designed a special app to help blind people were given an opportunity to introduce American singing legend Stevie Wonder to their app.  Stevie’s been blind all his life and got a VIP invite to the Abilities Expo in Los Angeles, a fair dedicated to aids for the disabled.

The Flemings’ app is called AYES.  It’s intended for blind people and those that are visually challenged.  Approach traffic lights and the app will emit a sound alerting a blind person to the colour of the lights: green to cross and red to wait.  The app that enhances safety for blind people was developed in Antwerp a couple of years ago and is ready for the international market.

“We travelled across the US for a month talking to organisations for the blind” explains AYES’ Willem Van de Mierop.  “We started in Miami and travelled to Orlando, Washington, Philadelphia and New York.  In all we visited 18 cities.  At the end of our trip we had a stand at Ability Expo in Los Angeles”.

It is there that the Flemings met Stevie Wonder.  “It was so busy and he was surrounded by body guards” explains Willem.  “Our team managed to get through to him.  He was really impressed with our app.  Unfortunately the fair was closing and he had to leave.  He said he would return.  We took that with a pinch of salt, but two days later, there he was with body guards and accompanied by a blind friend”.

Willem has no idea whether Stevie Wonder downloaded the Flemish app.

“He tested the app on his cell phone and asked a few questions.  In less than a month we picked up a thousand new users in the US.  Every day of the week we help them to cross 2,500 streets safely.  We’ve had so many positive reactions.  People tell us they are going places they never used to go before”.

The app has had to be adapted to America, where a red hand serves as a stop sign and a white man indicates “cross”.  Americans also count down to red and that too has been incorporated into the Flemish app.

The app is not only a success in the USA.  In Japan over a thousand people are already testing it.

Stevie Wonder is interested to hear more about the ground-breaking Flemish app

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