‘Tappy’ app aims to help those with disabilities, needs virtual assistants

Austin

AUSTIN (KXAN) — A new smartphone application hopes to provide a solution to the first and last mile transportation needs for those living with disabilities, senior citizens and veterans.

Tappy Guide is one of two winners of the Ford Mobility City:One challenge for the City of Austin. The winners were announced early last year, and for the last several months those with Tappy Guide, along with the Austin Transportation Department, have been working on beta testing the app using both users and virtual assistants.

One of those users is Ashley Franks. She lost her vision 13 years ago after her ex-fiancé shot her. Never did she imagine she would be able to explore and navigate the world again.

“I never thought I would be here,” she said. “Honest to God, I never thought I’d be here.”

Ashley Franks has been beta testing the Tappy Guide application for the last eight months. (KXAN Photo/Candy Rodriguez)

While she says she is confident in her mobility skills, there are times she still needs help, and that’s where Tappy Guide comes in.

“This helps us eliminate one less barrier for the disabled community,” she explained.

The app uses a smartphone’s GPS, camera and microphone to guide people like Franks around the city and provide smart mobility solutions. The app will launch in the coming weeks to the public, but those at Tappy Guide say they need volunteers to work as virtual assistants.

If you would like to volunteer, you can contact Hannah Barron at Hannah.barron@austintexas.gov.

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