Inspiring Female Programmer Transforms Public Transport for the Visually Impaired with Innovative App

August 2, 2023

A revolutionary new app, aimed at transforming public transport for commuters who are blind or vision impaired, has secured a significant $500,000 investment from the iMOVE Cooperative Research Centre paving the way for national trials across Australia.

The ground-breaking app – an idea developed by Cassie Hames, a software programmer who is legally blind and employed by SAGE  Automation, a SAGE Group company, in Adelaide, South Australia – is set to transform the public transport experience for Australia’s blind and vision-impaired community.

The app lets users alert bus drivers of their presence at a stop, ensuring they’re not missed. Once aboard, the app notifies them of upcoming stops, eliminating guesswork and anxiety. Designed to support people who are blind or vision impaired, See Me offers a more inclusive and stress-free public transport experience.

Limited trials of the app are  scheduled to commence this year in South Australia, Queensland, and NSW.

Navigating public transport systems can be a daunting task, especially for people who are blind or vision impaired. Recognising the daily hurdles faced by individuals like herself, Cassie’s See Me app demonstrates how technology can be used to drive positive change in the community.

“The See Me app was an organic idea based on my experiences – and the experiences of many in the blind community – using public transport independently. Going out into the community shouldn’t be less of an experience from one person to the next, regardless of ability, disability, or anything else,” Cassie said.

“As a frequent public transport user, I wanted to develop a solution that increases accessibility for all people so that everyone can feel comfortable, confident, and safe catching the bus.

“See Me ensures no one is left behind,” Cassie said.

iMOVE CRC managing director Ian Christensen said: “The See Me app is more than just technology – it’s a beacon of hope for countless vision impaired individuals navigating our urban spaces.”

“In iMOVE CRC’s mission to drive forward-thinking transport solutions, the See Me app stands out as a testament to what’s possible when innovation meets necessity.

“We’re proud to back Cassie and SAGE with an initiative that doesn’t just move people, but moves the entire transport industry towards a more inclusive future,” he said.

SAGE, an Australian company that has become a leading global provider of integrated automation and control solutions, got behind Cassie’s idea early. It saw the potential of her plan to make a tangible difference in the lives of those needing assistance when catching public transport.

SAGE Group Managing Director Adrian Fahey said: “Cassie has such passion for developing this app, and it aligns perfectly with SAGE’s mission to create a smarter future and better world. The See Me app is more than just a tool – it provides greater inclusiveness while improving safety for people taking public transport. We’re proud to be part of the journey.”

“Cassie’s unique perspective of navigating public transport and the local community is invaluable in bringing a critical voice to the conversation of accessibility in the transport industry.

“It’s so important for us as an industry to help drive an initiative like this, and to bring greater awareness for what future mobility can achieve when embedded in the community,” he said.

Cassie’s dedication to improving accessibility in public transport recently earned her international recognition when she won the Holman Prize and accompanying USD$25,000 grant from San Francisco’s Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired.

For a closer look at the ‘See Me’ app in action, watch Cassie’s explainer video here.


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