ATIS4all Collaborative portal logo, go to home. Assistive Technologies and Inclusive Solutions for All

Research and Development blog

Welcome to the ATIS4all Research and Development blog

Wayfinding technology for the Blind

06/06/2013
Posted by
vhernandez
12:19

" It is kind of pointless to be carried in a wheelchair everytime I step into an airport" a  visually impaired collegue told me during an interview on accessibility in the air transportation.  Taking into account that wayfinding and navigation is critical for visually impaired people regarding many sorts of vital activities such as transport, education, work, etc... Simple technologies that can independently guide those people should  be more encouraged since they represent an important social and economic  return.

At the moment there are quite a few breakthrough technologies that are implementing this such as the pulse-Echo  Sonic system, the Radio-Frequency Identification Tags (RFID) where the user receives auditory messages about positioning or sensory substitutions where images can be translated into sounds so that visually-impair users can manage spatially more autonomously.

The issue lies on the step that follows technology development and that is implementation-integration and ultimatley standarisation. My collegue who is rather straight-forward and despite of being a geek tries to present everything in simple terms for non-geeks explained to me that in the end what people like him wants is to book a ticket download an app that includes an easy-to-use navigation system embedded with his ticket so that he can go from his computer to the boarding gate autonomously.

This idea of apps with an embedded navigation system still does not exist though it would have countless applications such as museums, trainstations, super-market, Schools, Universities, Bars, etc, etc 

Here again, the problem does not lie on research and development, it lies on the trinity implementation-integration-standarisation.