[ats-employment] Re: Take me for a ride~

  • From: rhonda cruz <rhondaprincess@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: ats-employment@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Sat, 10 Apr 2010 16:47:17 -0400

hay sara. how are you. i'm doing quite good. Are you feeling better. Hugs: from rhonda how are the pets. my dog is well. she says roof- roof.

----- Original Message -----
From: whitetigerseyes@xxxxxxx
To: ats-employment@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Date sent: Sat, 10 Apr 2010 19:25:15 -0400
Subject: [ats-employment] Re: Take me for a ride~

wow intersting but still what if the whole system crashed or
break down.  Nothing is perfect in this world.
if this was a perfect world we live in kate. There would be
elves and places i could escape when i need to be alone or get away. Or there would not be so many dogs and cats in the shelter or humane society and there would be no pit bulls or other dangerous dogs. If this was perfect world Kate. I would able to keep a white tiger as my pet and a pack of wolves.
Ok well, i am out here i need get myself lost in Middle Earth
until Thursday. When this queen Elf come out from her tree house and come to Albany to visit with you.
Lady Sarah and Lady Willow (who is coming home in June)

-----Original Message-----
From: Kate Williams <kate@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
To: ATS workshop <ats-employment@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Sent: Sat, Apr 10, 2010 3:04 pm
Subject: [ats-employment] Take me for a ride~

What exciting research!  Could open upmany doors and more jobs!

Kate Williams Consulting
at Adaptive Technology Services
629 Divisidero Street
San Francisco, CA 94117
(415) 309-0905 .mobile
(866) 564- 6650.toll free

Students at Virginia Tech have found a way tohelp the blind get
behind the wheel (Virginia Tech).

by: Kirk Seaman

Students at Virginia Tech University havesucceeded in breaking
down another barrier for the disabled: Building a vehiclethat allows the blind to drive.
Virginia Tech's Robotics and MechanismsLaboratory developed a
driver-assist system that uses laser range finders, aninstant voice-command interface and a host of other cutting-edge technologiesto guide blind drivers as they steer, brake and accelerate. The new system wasput to good use last year at a summer camp where 20 blind and low-vision teenswere able to take the wheel of a retrofitted dune buggy and navigate a coursecompletely on their own.
"Although we are in the early stages oftesting, the National
Federation of the Blind -- which spurred the project --considers the vehicle a major breakthrough for independent living of thevisually impaired," said Dr. Dennis Hong, faculty adviser on the project.
Hong saw similarities between the technologyused in Virginia
Techâ??s DARPA Urban Challenge, a military vehicle research anddevelopment program, and the requirements of the NFBâ??s Blind Driver Challenge.
"Our original goal was to simply make thevehicle accessible to
the blind," noted Hong. "After speaking withthe NFB, we decided to make a vehicle that could be independently operated by ablind driver."
High-Tech Equipment forLow-Vision Drivers

By the numbers:

1.3 million:  Legally blind people in the United States

93,600:  School-age children

10,800: Deaf and  blind school-age children

787,691: Blind  seniors, 65 and older

2.4 million:  Projected number of blind seniors by 2030

30 percent:  Number of employed working-age legally blind adults

$916,000: Cost of support and unpaid taxes for one blind
person's lifetime

$4 billion: Estimated annual costs of blindness to the federal

Source: National Federationof the Blind

As expected, the buggy is packed with a host ofequipment
including a laser range finder, a Hall effect sensor, and a stringpotentiometer. "The laser range finder acts as the vehicle's eyes,"said Hong. "It sends out a laser beam many times a second and measures thereflected signal to locate obstacles and lane markers such as curbs. The Halleffect sensor determines the vehicle speed and the string potentiometermeasures the steering angle."
The system communicates with the driver via aseries of non-visual
interfaces. A tactile vest attached to the inside of thedriver's seatbelt provides information to regulate speed and warn of obstacleproximity. An audio feedback system uses headphones to instruct where to turnand audible clicks tell the driver how sharply he is turning the wheel.
The system's performance can be measured by thesmiles after
campers took a turn behind the wheel. Kim Wenger was one of thestudent team leaders who participated in the event. "The Blind DriverTrack was an interactive experience with hands-on activities that took the kidsthrough the entire engineering design process," she said. "Theylearned how to changea tire, were able to get their hands on engine parts to observe how pistonsoperate, and how to be a responsible driver by learning road signs, givingdirections, and taking a portion of an actual driving test."
The week culminated in driving time for thestudents using the
vehicle in a parking lot. "This was the best part ofthe entire week because the students and mentors were truly appreciative andexcited to drive, either for their first time or for the first time in manyyears," Wenger said. "They all felt a sense of freedom andindependence."
"It was an amazing experience,"enthused 15-year-old Ishaan
Rostogi after his drive in July. "It's goingto be great for all blind people across America." He said he now has hopethat one day he might earn his driver's license --something he never before imagined possible.
Reaching Beyond Sight
The technology developed for the Blind DriverChallenge is about
more than just enabling the blind to drive. "Aside fromgiving the blind greater independence and a sense of empowerment, theseblind-access technologies could have far-reaching benefits,â?? said Hong.
Examples of where these technologies might alsobe used include
collision mitigation for automobiles, assisting elderlydrivers, and even training new drivers. The system's non-visual aids could beused to enhance the safety andcapability of airplane pilots, who operate in an environment saturated withvisual information.
"Any task that requires fast and preciseresponses to a large
amount of data in a short amount of time can be improvedby the devices developed through the BDC," said Hong.
The next step for the Blind Driver Challengeproject is to
implement these technologies in an actual automobile. "Allof these driver interfaces will be incorporated into this vehicle. The goal isto allow a blind driver to operate the vehicle independently in a real drivingenvironment, including lane detection and object identification,â?? said Hong.

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