First FAR Accessible Atlanta Public School Unveiled

Under the direction of Principal David White, Burgess Peterson Elementary was unveiled as the first Atlanta Public School to become FAR Accessible. FAR Accessible schools enable blind and visually impaired students and parents to easily navigate to and within the school buildings as well as interact

For this initial APS roll out, the Boy Scouts of America were brought in.  Pack 1031 of East Atlanta was engaged to deploy the beacons throughout the school. Pack Leader Jason Royal shared why this was an important activity for the scouts. “I chose the FAR project at Burgess-Peterson Academy for Cub Scout Pack 1031 for a number of reasons.  It seemed to fit in perfectly with a Scout lesson on community service and helping those in need.  We had several different age appropriate examples where we had the children try to perform everyday activities with some kind of roadblock.”  “I believe the Scouts truly learned empathy and awareness in regards to walking around school or living everyday life with a disability and the Scouts learned what it truly means to be helpful as the Scout Law states.”

Staff from Atlanta Public Schools and other regional educational centers were invited to take a tour of the school and see the FAR system at work. Burgess Peterson acts as a case study demonstrating how the FAR system benefits blind students, parents, and faculty in schools and universities.

To learn more, contact FAR at or 888.286.0075.

Commuter Dude: Hi-tech honor for heroic guide dog

ATLANTA – A guide dog who lost his life protecting his owner is being remembered in a hi-tech way that will help the vision impaired.

In 2013, Simon the guide dog was struck by a car while trying to protect David Furukawa and his son. Simon didn’t survive, but his act of heroism inspired Furukawa to do something in his memory.

The result is Foresight Augmented Reality, a smartphone app that uses Bluetooth technology to guide the seeing impaired to their destination.

Often, Furukawa uses GPS and his new guide dog Samson to lead him. But while Sampson can keep his owner out of traffic or from running into a pole, he can’t lead his owner directly to a front door.

“He (Sampson) can’t take me to the bar, or take me to this store or that store,” says Furukawa. “GPS might put you 50-feet from where your destination is. I need to be able to find exactly where the door is.”

While recovering from the accident that took Simon, Furukawa was hit with inspiration. He and a friend developed FAR, Foresight Augmented Reality. Beacons placed in a handful of stores and restaurants around Atlanta emit a signal. When Furukawa is in range, the app lets him know.

“As you approach the beacon, it will go faster and faster,” says Furukawa.

It leads him right to the front door, or the bathroom door, wherever there is a beacon. The app is free. There is a small fee for businesses willing to install the beacons.

“To be able to market and say we’re here for the entire community including the visually impaired, that’s a big selling point,” says Chis Webb, who has partnered with Furukawa on the project.

Once inside this Taco Mac in Virginia-Highland, the app can read Furukawa the menu.

Furukawa and others are hoping for entire communities that are filled with beacons, and beeps.
and help for loyal guide dogs like Samson.

All in memory of a hero named Simon.

For information on the app, visit the website:

Credit: 11Alive