[tabi] Re: Blind drivers plot their own course

  • From: "Easy Talk" <easytalk@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <tabi@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Sat, 8 Aug 2009 09:34:02 -0400

I also think Way Finder also works on the Nokia Series 60 phones. I just got a N82 and the KNFB reader and could have gotten the Way Finder option but since I already have GPS on my Braille Sense I opted out.


Robert

----- Original Message ----- From: "Blackjack" <blackjack2@xxxxxxx>
To: <tabi@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Sent: Saturday, August 08, 2009 9:26 AM
Subject: [tabi] Re: Blind drivers plot their own course


Yes, My blackjack has a built in GPS but Wave finder don't work on it. Wave
finder just works on Simmons Phone. Mobile Geo works on Windows base Smart
Phones/PDA/Pocket PC.




Thanks,
Blackjack
blackjack2@xxxxxxx
-----Original Message-----
From: tabi-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx [mailto:tabi-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf
Of Easy Talk
Sent: Saturday, August 08, 2009 9:02 AM
To: tabi@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: [tabi] Re: Blind drivers plot their own course

Some phones now have built in GPS receivers that can be used with the
Accessible version of way finder.  I think Way Finder is cheaper than some
of the other solutions but I think I heard you have to have a internet
connection and downloading of maps is kind of slow.

Robert

----- Original Message -----
From: "Allison and Chip Orange" <acorange@xxxxxxxxxxx>
To: <tabi@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Sent: Friday, August 07, 2009 9:08 PM
Subject: [tabi] Re: Blind drivers plot their own course


Hi Blackjack,

I've ordered one for myself, and so I'll let you know in a week or so.
however, it should be perfectly accessible, as it's just an accessory,
like
a set of headphones. you need a talking navigation system to make use of
it; it's just the GPS receiver.

this particular model is a usb device, so you need one which allows for
external usb gps receivers.  that would be one of the ones based around a
notetaker for certain, maybe others as well.

as I said there are bluetooth versions of these new high-sensitivity
receivers, so they would work with a system running on say a smart phone,
if
that phone has a bluetooth capability.  I believe there is a talking
navigational system for smart phones, I think from Sendaro group, and I
think it's mobile Geo.  you'll have to do your homework to verify that,
but
there are several ways you could make use of this next generation
technology
anyway.

hth,

Chip



-----Original Message-----
From: tabi-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx [mailto:tabi-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx] On
Behalf
Of Blackjack
Sent: Friday, August 07, 2009 9:00 PM
To: tabi@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: [tabi] Re: Blind drivers plot their own course

Ok, is it accessible? If so how accessible?


Thanks,
Blackjack
blackjack2@xxxxxxx
-----Original Message-----
From: tabi-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx [mailto:tabi-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx] On
Behalf
Of Chip Orange
Sent: Friday, August 07, 2009 10:36 AM
To: tabi@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: [tabi] Re: Blind drivers plot their own course

Hi blackjack,

I agree with your wishlist.

there is an effort on to have all the consumer electronics have an
accessibility option. I'm not sure where that effort is, but I think with
our aging population, it will start to happen.

One small point I wanted to mention to you was the availability of a gps
which usually works indoors.

the core chipset is probably available in many consumer products; they
usually advertise it as "high-sensitivity".  the one I'm familiar with is
the 16 channel EarthMate lt-40, which on sale can be had for as little as
$35.  It's WAAS enabled (something which gives you much more precise
positioning in north america), and it's high-sensitivity, and has a cold
start time of around 30 seconds.  if you have a gps navigating system
which
uses external gps receivers, I'd definitely upgrade to something like
this.

other, less well known companies, seem to offer rechargible bluetooth
versions as well (such as Qstarz).

hth,

Chip






------------------------------

Chip Orange
Database Administrator
Florida Public Service Commission

Chip.Orange@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
(850) 413-6314

(Any opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not
necessarily reflect those of the Florida Public Service Commission.)


-----Original Message-----
From: tabi-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
[mailto:tabi-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of Blackjack
Sent: Wednesday, August 05, 2009 5:04 AM
To: tabi@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: [tabi] Re: Blind drivers plot their own course

Hi, this is fine and great like to see things like this going on that
might be of benefit to us maybe in the next 25 to 50 years. Which will
be all most to late for me! What I would like to see more of right now
and I personally think would be of much more benefit to us in everyday
life is some of these examples.  Example: All major appliance being
completely accessible, Majority of electronics being completely
accessible or at the least mostly accessible, such as ( TV menus,
Radios, House and cell phones being completely accessible, Satellite
and cable boxes accessible and GPS that is completely accessible at a
reasonable price and they would work in most business buildings). This
all would be a start with stuff that would really help right now! This
is what I would like to see happen in the next say 5 years. Just my
thoughts.




Thanks,
Blackjack
blackjack2@xxxxxxx
-----Original Message-----
From: tabi-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
[mailto:tabi-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of Lynn Evans
Sent: Tuesday, August 04, 2009 8:57 PM
To: tabi@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: [tabi] Blind drivers plot their own course

Blind Drivers Plot Their Own Course
Va. Tech Prototype Vehicle Lets Visually Impaired Students Take the
Wheel

By Daniel de Vise
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, August 1, 2009

A voice rose above the chatter in the University of Maryland parking
lot: "Blind man driving!"

Twenty people took turns piloting a car on this muggy Friday morning,
the first public test of technology that might one day overcome
barriers to putting the blind behind the wheel.

The quest to drive has captivated the blind community as it has become
more integrated into a car-centric society. Some likened Friday's test
to a moon landing -- a fitting analogy, considering that the prototype
vehicle vaguely resembled a lunar rover.

"One day, we'll be on the road with them," said Ishaan Rastogi, 15, a
blind New Jersey high school student with a Yankees cap pulled over
his eyes and the first to test the vehicle.

The event capped a
<http://www.blindscience.org/ncbys/youth_slam.asp>summer
science academy
organized by the National Federation of the Blind for 200 blind and
low-vision young people from across the country. The youths had spent
the week rock climbing, bungee-jumping and launching weather balloons,
activities tailored to teach that there is no limit to what a blind
person can do.

Virginia Tech engineers started work on the vehicle in response to a
2004 challenge from the blindness advocacy group to build a vehicle
that the blind could drive with the same freedom as the sighted.

"Blind people can do all sorts of things that the public doesn't think
we can do," said Chris Danielsen, spokesman for the federation.
The blind can read ordinary books with a hand-held device that
translates type to synthetic speech. Adaptive devices permit blind
users to interact with computers and surf the Internet.

Driving without sight became a conceivable goal in this decade with
the development of autonomous, computer-guided vehicles. The Defense
Advanced Research Projects Agency ran a series of
<http://www.darpa.mil/grandchallenge/index.asp>contests to inspire a
driverless car that could navigate complex terrain. By 2007, vehicles
from Virginia Tech and several other universities could complete the
DARPA course.

But an autonomous vehicle wasn't enough.

"We want the blind person to be the driver, not to be driven," said
Matt Lippy, 21, a member of the nine-person design team at
<http://www.me.vt.edu/romela/RoMeLa/RoMeLa.html>Virginia
Tech's Robotics &
Mechanisms Laboratory.

The design team first sought to customize Virginia Tech's entry in the
2007 DARPA contest, a modified Ford Escape that finished third in the
competition. But the engineers decided it would be easier to start
from scratch. They purchased an all-terrain vehicle online for $1,300
in fall
2008 and began anew.

They mounted a laser sensor to the front of the vehicle to sweep the
terrain ahead and return a signal. A powerful computer at the rear of
the buggy interprets the signal to build a two-dimensional map,
showing obstacles in the vehicle's path.

But how to show that map to a person who cannot see?

Researchers boiled down the data to two crucial factors: direction and
speed. A computer voice signals the driver through headphones how to
steer to avoid a collision -- one click to the left, for example;
three clicks to the right.

"We call it a back-seat driver," Lippy said.

The increments correspond to notches cut from the steering wheel. The
driver turns the wheel and hears an audible "click."

The computer communicates speed with vibrations fed through a vest
worn by the driver. Stronger vibrations indicate it is time to stop.
Sensors automatically kill the engine if the vehicle gets too close to
an impediment. For the test drives, engineers rigged the buggy for a
top speed of 15 mph.

One by one Friday morning, drivers buzzed around Parking Lot 1D, empty
save for traffic cones placed at intervals around light poles.
There were no mishaps.

"It's finally a chance to drive," said Angel Reyes, 16, a junior at
New Brunswick High School in New Jersey, as he climbed from the
vehicle.
"Finally a chance to be more independent in getting where you want to
go."

When the team first tested the buggy in May, three blind drivers
completed a curved course without hitting a single cone. In fact, the
blind drivers -- who had never driven before -- fared better than the
engineers themselves, who tried steering the car blindfolded. Lippy
thinks that the experienced drivers tended to ignore the computer
signals and follow their own instincts; the blind drivers obeyed the
computer to the letter.

The blind drivers posed questions that had not occurred to the
engineers.
How would they find the vehicle in a parking lot? If they had to jump
the battery, how could they tell the positive cable from the negative?

The engineers say their first Blind Driver Challenge vehicle is crude.
The computer can sense and avoid obstacles but cannot plot a course to
a destination. The team is working on a more sophisticated interface
to deliver signals to drivers. Their goal is to convert the
two-dimensional map plotted by the computer into something a blind
driver can touch.

They have tested a grid of air holes that shoot bursts of air, using
various pulses and pressures, to convey topographical data. (A higher
pressure could signal hills or bumps.)

"You have to understand, this is a prototype," said Dennis Hong, an
associate professor at Virginia Tech who directs the robotics lab.
"First time in the history of mankind."

He predicts a safe, stable technology for blind motorists will arrive
"within the next three years. The problem is not the technology. The
problem is public perception and legal issues."

He urges detractors to think of the last time they flew in an
airplane. "On autopilot," he said. "Nobody questions that."


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