Apple has filed for a patent (number 10,664,058) that shows it’s looking into methods for an iPhone to serve as a guidance device for the sensory impaired
Some sensory impaired people use guidance devices or relationships to assist them in navigating and interacting with their environments. For example, some blind people may use a cane in order to navigate and interact with an environment. Others may use a guide animal. Apple thinks the iPhone could replace both or at least offer an alternative.
Here’s the summary of the patent filing: “Sensor data is obtained regarding an environment around a guidance device. A model of the environment is generated based on the data. The model is mapped at least to an input/output touch surface of the guidance device. Tactile output is provided to a user of the guidance device via the input/output touch surface based at least on the mapping. Other output based on the model may also be provided.
“The guidance device may include a variety of different components such as sensors that obtain data regarding the environment, input/output mechanisms for receiving input from and/or providing input to the user, processing units and/or other components for generating the model and/or mapping the model to various input/output mechanisms, and so on. Additionally, the guidance device may cooperate and/or communicate with a variety of different electronic devices that have one or more such components in order to perform such functions.”