Current Assistive Technologies Available for Orientation and Mobility Purposes: Applications, Limita...
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Current Assistive Technologies Available for Orientation and Mobility Purposes: Applications, Limitations, and Criteria for Successful Use. Ed Gervasoni, Ed.S.; COMS, CVRT [email protected] (520) 603-9016. Information Needed for Travel. Orientation knowledge

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Current Assistive Technologies Available for Orientation and Mobility Purposes: Applications, Limitations, and Criteria for Successful Use

Ed Gervasoni, Ed.S.; COMS, CVRT

[email protected]

(520) 603-9016


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Information Needed for Travel Mobility Purposes: Applications, Limitations, and Criteria for Successful Use

  • Orientation knowledge

    • typical environmental designs and features

    • location of static things in relation to one another in a given environment

    • organization of personal movement through space – interrelationships of self to objects

  • Environmental awareness

    • movement of people and things

    • environmental media


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Required Skills Mobility Purposes: Applications, Limitations, and Criteria for Successful Use

  • Discrimination and problem-solving abilities

  • Literacy skills & ability to access appropriate reading medias

  • Ability to navigate between various functions and information levels

  • Ability to function without help of assistive technologies


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Obstacle Detection Mobility Purposes: Applications, Limitations, and Criteria for Successful Use

  • Miniguide - the ultrasonic mobility aid. Detect obstacles from 1.5 to 26 feet away with tactile or audible feedback

  • Hand Guide Obstacle Detector – infrared beam detects obstacles in path from 4 feet

  • Ultra Cane - electronic primary aid which gives you all the information you can get from a white cane, but with important additions:

    • It uses ultrasonic echoes to find out where obstacles are ahead of you and at head height then converts this information into vibrating buttons in the handle which tells you where an object may be and how far away the obstacle lies.


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Way Finding Mobility Purposes: Applications, Limitations, and Criteria for Successful Use

  • The Compass

    • manual

    • electronic

  • GPS (Global Positioning Satellites/Systems)

    • visual

    • auditory

    • interfaced with electronic note-takers

  • Tactile Graphics/Maps


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Communication Solutions Mobility Purposes: Applications, Limitations, and Criteria for Successful Use

  • Communication books

  • Raised letter/braille communication cards

  • Face-to-face portable electronic communication solutions

    • the Screen Braille Communicator

    • adapted electronic note-taking devices

  • Cell phone adaptations


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Additional Safety Devices Mobility Purposes: Applications, Limitations, and Criteria for Successful Use

  • Flashing strobe safety lights

  • Brightly colored clothing – orange safety vests

  • Bus hailing cards – some are specific for Deaf-Blind users

  • Individual tracking devices

    • watches, cell phone, and implanted chips

  • Identification buttons/labels


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Future Trends Mobility Purposes: Applications, Limitations, and Criteria for Successful Use

  • Photographic images displayed on refreshable tactile graphic devices - ASU

  • Laser-Based Range-Sensing device (relays spatial information to user) - UC Santa Cruz

  • Robotic Guides (radio frequency ID tags) – Utah State University

  • Portable Video Cell Phones (Verizon LG & T-Mobile MDA phones)

  • Multiple types and levels of information will be simultaneously available


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Challenging Issues Mobility Purposes: Applications, Limitations, and Criteria for Successful Use

  • Technology breaks down

  • Much of the output is auditory with limited controls

  • Not everything has an ability to be increased for visual efficiency

  • Multiple devices are needed to accomplish varying tasks and much of it is not always portable

  • Small markets = expensive equipment with short life span

  • Limited funding resources for equipment and training for its usage

  • Most individuals have 2 hands and are using more than 1 piece of equipment - challenging to manage especially when traveling

  • Everyday technologies are being created where one is required to interact with visually exclusive touch screens

  • Life of batteries vary from device to device and often there is no prior indication of a dying battery

  • Assistive technology gives only 75% of the information available – the missing 25% can be as critical


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Proactive Solutions: Mobility Purposes: Applications, Limitations, and Criteria for Successful Use

  • Public education about the issues

  • Education of assistive technology research and development teams

  • Provision of potential solutions to resolve the problems:

    • encourage use of one box system that can be interfaced with appropriate peripherals

    • support the creation of a funding source that encourages corporations & systems to accept responsibility for providing equal access to it’s consumers

    • create a uniform access technology distribution system

    • persuade educators and families to increase the use of the multi-sensory systems for processing information


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