Talking the Walk: Audible Navigation for the Blind

There is no shortage of ‘tech’ stuff for the Blind.  The idea of having a portable talking GPS system as a mobility aid for people who are Blind or partially sighted, appeals to many.  It certainly has peaked my interest.  I like the idea that I could explore new routes or areas with greater ease. Having a portable device that would announce “Mumford road …10 meters” or be programable to advise me of my specific targets or obstacles, like “bus shelter #3” or “building dumpster”, is a tempting notion.   There are drawbacks to all this new gadgetry. First, is cost.  These items are coming down in price, however, their costs are so high that they remain out of reach for most people who want them.  I also think there is no replacement for good mobility skills with a cane or Guide dog.  I don’t like to depend on a device that can potentially fail.  Call me fatalistic, but the ‘what if it breaks?’ consideration is what goes through my mind. Personally, I enjoy all the quiet I can get.  There seem to be plenty of ‘talking’ gadgets in my life as it is now, with my computer, calculator, glucometer, and bank note reader yaking up a storm daily. Would I accept a free trial?  Sure.  As with all technology, audible GPS systems for the Blind will improve in design in time.  They have the potential of being a valuable tool in the arsenal of the Blind.  If anyone is interested in learning more about what is available, I suggest going to the websites of the major producers. They include:  Humanware, TalkNav,  and Sendero’s Group.  I have nothing to recommend. It’s all a big, expensive high tech mystery to me. Links will be on the blogroll for a while.  They will remain on this blog entry–they are: 

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2 responses to “Talking the Walk: Audible Navigation for the Blind

  1. After seeing your post titled Blind people’s smart ass answers to stupid questions from sighted people, I feel a bit nervous to ask you to check out a post on my blog at http://islandsofintelligence.blogspot.com titled “Bootstrapping Artificial Intelligence by Symbiotic co-operation from the Blind Community.”

    I happen to be a person who narrowly missed becoming totally blind due to maybe good destiny/doctors and I am grateful for my situation. Right now I have no vision in one of my eyes, but the vision in my other eye is nearly normal and I was able to get a decent education in Computer Science Engineering.

    Now I feel that I should be doing something worthwhile using technology that can bring about a positive change in the quality of life of blind people. Some of my assumptions about the lifestyle or expectations of a blind person could be naive. So please pardon my “stupidity” and try to let your imagination run wild. I would like to know what you think about my ideas. All ideas and comments and criticism are welcome.

  2. Cool site, love the info.

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