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New app helps visually impaired with grocery shopping

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Kellogg Company partners with NaviLens to make packaging more accessible

FLUSHING, Mich. (WJRT) - A Flushing native is helping the Kellogg Company change the way that millions of Americans who are blind or have low vision -- perform daily tasks as simple as shopping for cereal.

With an effort to make packaging more accessible to those who view the world differently Kellogg has partnered with NaviLens Technology to change the world - one box of cereal at a time.

Kellogg is introducing a personal cereal shopper for the visually impaired through the NaviLens app with an effort to create a new way of grocery shopping for consumers like flushing native, Beth Foor - a Kellogg employee who helped create this project because she too suffers from loss of vision.

"So I was born with what's called Usher Syndrome which is the leading cause of deaf blindness," Foor said. "So, I was born with significant hearing loss but I was born with normal vision and it wasn't until I was in high school into my college years that I started to notice symptoms of my progressive eye disease."

Just making a debut on shelves this past December, Beth believes that this is a step in the right direction for shoppers like herself

"Things like navigating the grocery stores and trying to find products on grocery shelves is very challenging for someone like me," said Foor. "So, we're proud to be the first food company that actually uses this technology on packaging."

NaviLens was originally developed as a navigation tool for public spaces and Kellogg was the first company in the world to adapt it for use on packaging.

The front and side of these cereal boxes will now feature a NaviLens optical smart code comprising high-contrast colorful squares on a black background that can be detected and read by the NaviLens and NaviLens GO apps.

Unlike your regular QR code where you'd have to scan right on it - even if you're several feet away, the app will pick up the NaviLens locator from certain cereal such as; Rice Krispies, CrispX, Special K Original, or Kellogg's Corn Flakes, and read the packaging information out loud.

"It'll actually find it for them on the store shelves and it'll tell them if it's to the left, or to the right and how far away it is so they can locate it," Foor said. "And for someone with low vision it has a large arrow that displays on their phone and it'll keep pointing and directing them until they locate it"

With a goal to not only make cereal shopping a bit easier but Foor says this adds a sense of independence

"It's extremely challenging for someone with no vision or someone like myself who has low vision to navigate the store isles and just do a lot of the day to day things," she said. "And this is a way that gives people more freedom."

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