I saw something like this on TV several months ago, maybe a year ago. The driver had a sighted person giving directions and the test was perfect. My problem is I believe that people who are blind can do a whole lot of things, many of them much better than me, including having a sense of direction and getting me to a location by directing me and I think it is terrific. I'm not so sure about the driving, because it is hard enough to drive, being sighted, and having to deal with drunks, teenagers and people whose eyes are failing but they won't admit it, and even cloudbursts. I read this article and tried to imagine what things might happen. It would be amazing if something could happen to make this possible. I didn't learn to drive until I was 30 because it was thought my orthopedic problems were too severe. And I've had several periods since I could drive that I was not able to for various reasons. I know it is hard, and having the feeling of freedom is great, but I won't always be able to drive.
----- Original Message ----- From: "Allison and Chip Orange" <acorange@xxxxxxxxxxx>
To: <tabi@xxxxxxxxxxxxx> Sent: Saturday, July 03, 2010 6:15 PM Subject: [tabi] a new approach for a car for the blind
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Could a blind person drive a car? Researchers are tryingto make that far-fetched notion a reality.The National Federation of the Blind and Virginia Tech plan to demonstrate aprototypevehicle next year equipped with technology that helps a blind person drive acar independently. The technology, called "nonvisual interfaces," uses sensors to let a blind driver maneuver a car based on information transmitted to him about his surroundings: whether another car or object is nearby, in front of him or in a neighboring lane. Advocates for the blind consider it a "moon shot," a goal similar to President John F. Kennedy's pledge to land a man on the moon. For many blind people, driving a carlong has been considered impossible. But researchers hope the project couldrevolutionize mobility and challenge long-held assumptions about limitations."We're exploring areas that have previously been regarded as unexplorable,"said Dr. Marc Maurer, president of the National Federation of the Blind. "We're moving away from the theory that blindness ends the capacity of human beings to make contributions to society." The Baltimore-based organization announced its plans for the vehicle demonstration at a news conference Friday in Daytona Beach, Fla. A blind person, who has not yet been chosen, will drive the vehicle on a course near the famed Daytona race track and attempt to simulate a typical driving experience.Maurer first talked about building an automobile that the blind could driveabout a decade ago when he launched the organization's research institute. "Some people thought I was crazy and they thought, 'Why do you want us to raise money for something that can't be done?' Others thought it was a great idea," Maurer said. "Some people were incredulous. Others thought the idea was incredible."The vehicle has its roots in Virginia Tech's 2007 entry into the DARPA GrandChallenge, a competition for driverless vehicles funded by the Defense Department's research arm. The university's team won third place for a self-driving vehicle that used sensorsto perceive traffic, avoid crashing into other cars and objects and run likeany other vehicle.Following their success, Virginia Tech's team responded to a challenge fromthe NationalFederation of the Blind to help build a car that could be driven by a blindperson.Virginia Tech first created a dune buggy as part of a feasibility study thatused sensor lasers and cameras to act as the eyes of the vehicle. A vibrating vest was used to direct the driver to speed up, slow down or make turns. The blind organization was impressed by the results and urged the researchers to keep pushing. The results will be demonstrated next January on a modified Ford Escapesport utility vehicle at the Daytona International Speedway before the Rolex24 race. The latest vehicle will use nonvisual interfaces to help a blind driver operate the car. One interface, called DriveGrip, uses gloves with vibrating motors on areasthat cover the knuckles. The vibrations signal to the driver when and whereto turn.Another interface, called AirPix, is a tablet about half the size of a sheetof paper with multiple air holes, almost like those found on an air hockey game. Compressed air coming out of the device helps inform the driver of his or her surroundings, essentially creating a map of the objects around a vehicle. It would show whether there's another vehicle in a nearby lane or an obstruction in the road. A blind person, who has not yet been chosen, will drive the vehicle on a course near the famed Daytona race track and attempt to simulate a typical driving experience. Dr. Dennis Hong, a mechanical engineering professor at Virginia Tech who leads the research, said the technology could someday help a blind driver operate a vehicle but could also be used on conventional vehicles to make them safer or on other applications.Hong, who directs the school's Robotics and Mechanisms Laboratory, said theyhope to turn the technology into a consumer product. But he added, "This is not going to be a product until its proven 100 percent safe." Advocates for the blind say it will take time before society accepts the potential of blind drivers and that the safety of the technology will need to be proven through years of testing. But more than anything, they say it's part of a broader mission to change the way people perceive the blind. Mark Riccobono, executive director of the NFB's Jernigan Institute, said when he walks down the street with his 3-year-old son, many people might think he, as a blind person, is being guided by his son. "The idea that a 3-year-old takes care of me stems from what they think about blindness," Riccobono said. "That will change when people see that we can do something that they thought was impossible."Check out the TABI resource web page at http://acorange.home.comcast.net/TABIand please make suggestions for new material.if you'd like to unsubscribe you can do so through the freelists.org web interface, or by sending an email to the address tabi-request@xxxxxxxxxxxxx with the word "unsubscribe" in the subject.
Check out the TABI resource web page at http://acorange.home.comcast.net/TABI and please make suggestions for new material. if you'd like to unsubscribe you can do so through the freelists.org web interface, or by sending an email to the address tabi-request@xxxxxxxxxxxxx with the word "unsubscribe" in the subject.