AYES is a company that uses artificial intelligence to create software that assists blind and visually impaired users on their walks. The first version of their app, OKO, is now live in the Benelux.
OKO uses artificial intelligence to recognise the pedestrian traffic light, or pead head. We bring the walk or don’t walk information back to the user through audio and haptic cues. OKO is closely co-developed by blind and visually impaired users, making the application very accessible and easy to use.
The user simply takes out the phone at an intersection hold the phone at chest level and points the camera towards the direction of the traffic light. If the traffic light is in sight of the camera our app will recognize the pedestrian traffic light if one is present. Our blind and visually impaired testers have found out that it is quite intuitive to point the phone in the correct direction because the app is very fast. This ensures that the app starts making sound the moment the traffic light is in sight of the camera. Currently the application is only on iOS but the company AYES behind OKO is also developing an android version.
OKO is available to download in the US since February 2023! You can check out the www.ayes.ai site to stay updated with updates but also which regions we start expanding into.
Later more functionalities will be added, you can always use the contact button in the application to request new functionalities.
You can download the app today by searching for ‘OKO by AYES’ in the App Store
One question though
Will the app work with all standard traffic lights and then would I be able to try this in a rural part of the country is like Springfield Illinois? Reason for me asking this question is this, I happen to use hearing aids which totally changes how I perceive traffic patterns and times when it would be safe for me to cross intersections. This will be a game changer for people like me and especially for the deaf blind
RE: one question
Hello Rixon, the camera recognizes the pedestrian traffic light because of computer vision and will therefor not be dependent where the traffic light might be located. However, currently we are not available in the US as of yet but we do have plans to expand. Be sure to check out https://ayes.ai/get-oko to get early access.
Not practical in some situations.
I like apps like these, but if you live in a country that's very unsafe, its not practical to pull out your phone every time. I'd like some of these to be built into some kind of head mounted device. Hopefully the tech gets here soon.
Very cool! Are you expanding…
Very cool! Are you expanding throughout Europe? I'm located in Denmark, and would love to test it here. How should I go about keeping updated - can I fill out the test form even though the app is not in my country yet?
RE: are you expanding
Yes we are expanding, and indeed you can use the test form to become a tester in Denmark! We already have a few testers in Denmark who are very positive! You can use this link to become a tester: https://ayes.ai/get-oko
Excellent! Thank you very…
Excellent! Thank you very much. I will sign up at once!
Number one, how do you know where to Point out your phone to find a light? Number two isn’t there multiple lights on one street, how are you supposed to know that your phone is pointed to the correct like you are crossing.
Expanding To Canada
Do you plan on expanding to Canada? If so, how do I go about becoming a tester?
RE: Few questions
Most of our users take their phone out at an intersection where they know there is a pedestrian light. OKO works while holding your phone horizontal and vertical, so it doesn't matter how you hold the phone. Since our software is that fast, it responds instantly whenever a pedestrian light is in sight. For some of our users even rotate their torso 180 degrees to find a pedestrian light. Once the phone makes noice or vibrates you know where the light is located at. OKO is trained to only look at pedestrian light and neglect all other lights. Moreover we taught OKO to only look at the main light you are about the cross, for example a double crossing, OKO looks at the traffic light closest to you. In the future we will incorporate GPS to enhance the sense of direction even more.
RE: Expanding to Canada
Yes we are expanding to the US and Canada. You can sign up for early beta testing through this link: https://ayes.ai/get-oko
To scale to the US and Canada we need videos of pedestrian traffic lights, eg filming while walking through an intersection. The goal is to have as many red and green pedestrian light images. You and your relatives can always help out with collecting data. For this matter we have another app called OKO campaign, intended for uploading video and images. You can freely download it via https://apps.apple.com/us/app/oko-campaign/id1583843828
RE: Expanding to canada
Yes we are planning a pilot project with CNIB in canada. You can become a tester by filling out your contact details with the following link: https://ayes.ai/get-oko
Cant find the App on ios in the UK
We are unable to find this app.
It takes us to a restaurant one :)
Is there a link to find the app please?
All the best,
Richard and Cindy
Coming to the UK any time soon
Sounds amazing, is there a timeframe as to when this will come to the UK? When I last checked, it’s not available in my country. Cheers
are you in the usa?
Are you in the USA? if so please include the link.
App can be a game changer
I recently used this app at a live demo presentation at the Lighthouse of Central Florida, and I can tell you it is quite the game changer for me. I was able to cross a busy T intersection near the facility, which I cross every day. The intersection has an APS, but we used just the OKO app and I was able to safely know when to cross from the signal in my ear, and the haptic feedback. Two weeks later, I went out into my neighborhood on a whim and was able to cross a very busy 7 lane intersection which I believed to not be cross-able without sighted assistance, and is not equipped with APS. Upon pulling out the phone, pointing the back camera at the opposite side of the crosswalk, I began to hear the audible ping from the app. I did sit back through several cycles, pressing the pedestrian cross button each time (much to the annoyance of drivers I’m sure) to analyze the traffic pattern, until I felt comfortable to step into the crosswalk. On the other side, I did a happy dance as now a whole new part of my area is accessible! I then found a farmer’s market I knew about but couldn’t independently access before. This app is a huge addition to my mobility toolkit, but does not replace the basics of O&M, such as listening to vehicles throughout the crossing. The audible tone in your ear does not interfere with the ability to hear traffic.
I met Willem at the Lighthouse event and he and the company are fantastic and open to all comments and feedback. And if he is watching this thread, I would be willing to purchase this app as it changes my ability to access any crosswalk with a walk/don’t walk (ped-head) sign. I encourage all who get a chance to check out this app to write the dev and let them know of your experience and to continue on with the app. If I have any criticism, and it is a minor one in my opinion, it is the app can be a battery suck. If you do not need to use the app, you might want to consider killing it from the app switcher between uses if you go more than a block or two, and I don’t see a way around this as it uses the camera.
Cheers and happy and safe travels all
Wish It Would Come To Canada
Like the subject says, wish this app would come to Canada. It's just frustrating because we always seem to get these things last.
Amen, Earl. As someone who really enjoys technology, things like this really piss me off. It always feels like we're five or ten years behind the rest of the world. I've considered moving sometimes because of this fact alone.
Expanding to different areas soon
Hi Gar, earl and Saj,
We are not in Canada or the UK at the moment but we will be expanding to these regions in the future. I can understand that this can be a bit frustrating but we need to ensure that the software is as powerful as in the US before we expand. This means some customization from one country to the other.
Hi, I know this mainly is an Apple forum, but are you making this app available for androids, all android devices?
Tried this app today to cross a busy intersection where cars travel in excess of 40 mph/70 kph. Amazing! Pointed my phone ahead of me in the general direction of the opposite side of the street, listened for the various beep patterns, and noticed that the cars stopped in front of me at nearly the exact same moment. The two streets in question have no audible pedestrian signals so this helped out tremendously.
Thank you to the developers for this app.
I don't see why it can't be in Canada now.
I've listened to the podcast here and a couple of YouTube videos, and the locator beacon for the APS always sound just like they do here. It seems to me like our traffic light systems are the same, so why the delay? I hope this won't be like Soundscape, where Canada didn't get the app until a few years after everybody else, and we all know where that is going.
Same for Italy
There used to be a beta version here, which was suddenly removed. I don't see why this shouldn't be available in the rest of Europe, since, from my understanding, it has already been released in the Benelux and has been available there for some time. Hope it will be launched in our countries soon.
Hi Jo and laura
As a young company we are limited in resources therefore we are not able to expand everywhere yet. We hope to expand to Canada or Italy as soon as possible.
We currently do not support Android, because our software runs locally on the phone it requires a good camera, a good battery and a powerful computerchip. Currently, only iPhones meet these requirements. Our focus is to expand the iOS app to different regions and make improvements first before expanding to android.
Hope this helps,
OKO helps out
Thanks for the great feedback, we are very motivated by these types of reactions.
Willem and the AYES team