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." > > > VICUG-L is the Visually Impaired Computer User Group List. > Archived on the World Wide Web at > http://listserv.icors.org/archives/vicug-l.html > Signoff: vicug-l-unsubscribe-request@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx > Subscribe: vicug-l-subscribe-request@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx > > Check out the TABI resource web page at > http://acorange.home.comcast.net/TABI > > to unsubscribe send a message, containing a subject line of the word > unsubscribe, to tabi-request@xxxxxxxxxxxxx > > > > 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 to unsubscribe send a message, containing a subject line of the word unsubscribe, to tabi-request@xxxxxxxxxxxxx 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 to unsubscribe send a message, containing a subject line of the word unsubscribe, to tabi-request@xxxxxxxxxxxxx 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 to unsubscribe send a message, containing a subject line of the word unsubscribe, to tabi-request@xxxxxxxxxxxxx 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.