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Mobiles bring disabled people together

Two new mobile phone apps promise to help disabled people get in touch with one another more easily. 

UK company Silicon Networks claims to have developed the world’s only app that allows disabled users to find people nearby for support, socialising and dating. 

The real time app called MiFinder uses GPS to locate potential dates and social contacts. Users can Instant Message each other, send photos and agree an exact location to meet up. 

The app’s developer Gabriel Saclain says security is paramount and users can instantly block contacts, report inappropriate behaviour and hide their whereabouts from others. 

Users do not have to register or provide a password and email address to use the free app, which is available from the Apple Store. 

“The social needs of disabled people can be overlooked,” says Saclain. “They often need physical as well as mental support and they will find MiFinder a useful networking tool. 

“The disabled community can sometimes experience difficulties socialising, as being homebound can limit the opportunity to travel to meet people.” 

In the US, the Sendero Group has developed a prototype Bluetooth app intended to help blind people find each other at close range. 

The People Finder app alerts a user with a vibration and a noise, when someone else with the app comes within 50 feet. 

"As a blind person I'd love to be made aware of when somebody I know is near by, so that I can meet with them," says Mike May, the software’s developer.

“As a bonus, you will also be careful not to talk about someone if you know they might be in hearing distance." 

The People Finder app (http://bit.ly/YWeRu5) is part of a bigger effort by Sendero, which specialises in GPS for blind people, to use a variety of technologies for ‘geosocial networking’. 

http://www.mifinderapp.com 



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