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GPS & Haptic Systems The wave of the future for adults who are blind and visually impaired Robin Illers, MEd, CVRT Hunter College, October 2008
Basic Information These devices are intended to augment other travel aids, such as canes and guide dogs. GPS systems have difficulty receiving signals when blocked by tall buildings or objects. They are accurate to within 30 feet of the target location.
BrailleNote GPS • Braille or auditory output • Includes BrailleNote features • Cell phone size GPS • BrailleNote can be worn on a neck strap Proximity search in virtual mode allows effective trip planning including points of interest (POIs.) Sendero, Humanware
Finding Point of Interest (POI) without echolocation using BrailleNote GPS (BGPS) Participants: 19 individuals who had received long cane training, all occluded for research Ability to locate POI in circle Success rate: 12% non BGPS, 93% BGPS Participant: One experienced BGPS user who was blind Ability to locate POI in circle 125 ft error non BGPS, 1 ft error with BGPS BGPS improves POI finding ability in all cases Ponchilla, MacKenzie, Long, Denton-Smith, Hicks & Miley (2007)
Reorienting Using BGPS Participants: Three individuals with varying degrees of blindness Reorient in neighborhood with or without BGPS, without POI Took less time for all participants to reorient using BGPS Participant: One experienced BGPS user who was blind Ease of finding house without BGPS, with BGPS, with BGPS and waypoints (POI) Maximum efficiency with BGPS and POI, minimal no BGPS BGPS improves efficiency in reorientation tasks. Ponchilla, Rak, Freeland & LaGrow (2007)
Trekker • Fits in palm of hand • Cell phone size GPS • Upgradeable • Maestro option for increased functionality • 39 buttons The following modes are available: Pedestrian (assigned streets), Free (parks and campuses), and Motorized (vehicular travel.) Humanware
Trekker Breeze Trekker Breeze Trekker Breeze Anticipated release Nov. 2008 • Self contained • Cell phone size • 9 button keyboard Leaves breadcrumbs along route; backtracks if person becomes disoriented. Humanware
Need for research Research needs to be done on Trekker products, though many of the principles apply to all GPS systems and should be transferable.
Haptic Glove • Haptic glove with small vibrotactile motors. • The mapping of motors on left hand glove to the three directions (1) left, (2) in front of, (3) right as well as other motor placements. Zelek, J.S. Wearable Sensory Substitution Devices
Haptic Devices • Some access information through a camera system. • Some use a head mounted compass to determine directionality of traveler. • Allow deaf-blind travelers, who don’t know Braille to access GPS Systems.
Haptic Glove Used for Wayfinding Participants: Nine who used long cane or guide dog Use haptic glove along with mobility device for wayfinding No conclusive data Positive feedback Future developments recommended Not currently commercially available Zelek, Bromley, Asmar & Thompson (2003)
References Ponchillia, P. E., MacKenzie, N., Long, R. G., Denton-Smith, P., Hicks, T. L. & Miley, P. (2007) Finding a target with accessible global positioning system. Journal of Visual Impairment and Blindness (JVIB), 101(8) Ponchillia, P. E., Rak, E. C., Freeland, A. L., & LaGrow, S. J. (2007) Accessible GPS: Reorientation and target location among users with visual impairments. JVBI,101(7) Zelek, J. S., Bromley, S., Asmar, D. & Thompson, D. (2003) A haptic glove as a tactile-vision sensory substitution for wayfinding. JVBI, 97(10)
Contact Information • Humanware – Trekker and Trekker Breeze GPS • www.Humanware.com 1-800-722-3393 • Us.firstname.lastname@example.org • Sendero – BrailleNote and VoiceNote GPS • www.senderogroup.com 1-530-757-6800 • Haptic Glove system is not commercially available
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