For the more than 330 million people who are blind and visually impaired, a bus schedule or the packaging details on a bottle can be difficult, if not impossible, to read. 

But Javier Pita is looking to change that. His company, NaviLens, has created a new kind of QR code, turning colorful patterns into audible posts readable in more than 33 languages.

“For me, this is a life’s mission,” says Pita, NaviLens founder and CEO. “When you see how technology can impact people positively, you fall in love with the project.” 

The innovation behind NaviLens is in the thinking of how the visually impaired use technology. With QR codes, a camera needs to be close, about 40 feet away, to focus on the black-and-white pattern. But those who are blind or have low vision may have trouble locating the code on a sign or poster. A camera can read NaviLens stickers from a much farther distance. Depending on the size of the sticker, a camera can read the pattern from up to 100 feet away and in .03 seconds, says Pita. Plus, the camera doesn’t have to be focused on the code, nor even in front of it.

One of NaviLens’ latest projects is with P&G, using augmented reality and its patented tool to unlock details about the brand’s products and direct shoppers to find them inside a store. In this way, the technology may benefit far more than the visually impaired, but people whose eyesight may weaken as they age or those who want to translate information from one language to another.

Ultimately, Pita sees his work as matching “passion with technology,” he says. Sign up to hear more from Pita and NaviLens technology live on July 12 at Signal 2023.