Colourful codes help blind people shop

Next time you see a packet of Kellogg’s cereal, you might notice a colourful barcode on them. Why? Because it’s helping visually-impaired people shop. 

People who are blind or partially sighted struggle to access information on food packaging, such as ingredients and allergy information, as well as whether the packaging is recyclable. 

The barcode technology, created by Spanish firm Navilens, has been adopted in the UK for the first time on food packaging.

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The colourful code is basically a new type of QR code that can be scanned from a distance and without the need to focus it, a spokesperson from Navilens tells Smiley News.

The normal type of QR code you’re used to can be tricky for blind or partially-sighted people to use, because you have to really focus on the code and frame it correctly.

But with these new codes, people who are visually-impaired can scan it without knowing exactly where it is – and it can be detected up to three metres away.

Once scanned using the Navilens app, people who are visually impaired can access the information through audio notes. All the information will also be displayed in written format on the phone, where they can zoom in to read it. 

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The codes are already used in Spain on public transport and in museums. In the UK, it’s in its infancy – a trial started at Heathrow but it had to be postponed due to the pandemic. 

Kellogg’s hopes to display the code across all cereal packets eventually. If you’d like to see how they work, the Royal National Institute of Blind People shared a helpful video of the Navilens code in action

NaviLens’s dream is to achieve a more accessible and inclusive world for the visually impaired,” says the spokesperson. “The future is very promising.”