[tabi] Leader Dog Unveils Navigation Tech for theBlind

  • From: "Sila Miller" <silam@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <tabi@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Sun, 5 Jun 2011 08:34:21 -0400

Good morning Tallahassee(ers),
Thought the below might be of interest or help to some.
Take care,

Hello Everyone,

I urge those of you who are interested in an affordable, easy to use GPS to
read the message below.

I used a Trekker for several years and have successfully used the GPS that
works with the Braille Sense Notetaker.

I was invited to test the Kapten Plus described in the message below because
I am a member of the GDUI Board as the organization's Affiliate Liaison.

The unit is quite small and quite simple to use.  The unit holds the map of
the entire US and, as a result, one can travel anywhere without having to
load maps and the like.  It works with either a speaker or headphone, both
with a microphone button enabling the user to give command via voice.  The
option to use the unit's buttons to give commands is also an option.  The
Free Navigation mode is great if you are cruising around.

I had the unit only a very short time when Dena and I went off to Nashville.
I used it quite successfully and easily during the trip.  Even when my
friend, Pam, and I were working our dogs in company with folks who know the
area better than we do, knowing the street names was quite helpful as we
worked mostly along West End Avenue wich is a very heavily trafficked area.
Even though my friend, Pam, grew up in the city and went to college in the
area in which we mostly traveled, there is absolutely no way to truly
recognize street entrances without the dogs' stopping and the friendly voice
of the GPS warning that a certain street is ahead.

Although this GPS does exhibit some of the flaws of all GPS technology, it
is still quite easy to use, accurate and its price point is very attractive.
This is definitely an option for folks who do not plan to purchase an IPhone
in the near future or who do not have the funds to purchase a notetaker GPS
or Trekker option.

There are options that I very much love about my Braille Sense GPS,
especially the option to see where I'm going via the Braille display.  It is
great, though, not to have to take my expensive notetaker everywhere now.

The GPS does use the computer's USB ports for charging.  However, for around
$31.00, I purchased from Office Depot a small carrying case and a device
with four USB ports with an electrical plug so that my unit can charge and I
can still access my computer's USB ports for other things.  The GPS uses one
USB port and the speaker uses another.  With the charging option that I
chose, there is absolutely no need to own a computer or to understand one
thing about computer technology.  The voice is a clear, crisp female voice
much like the voice that one hears when driving with someone using a GPS.

The batteries cannot be overcharged and Leader Dogs recommends that the GPS
and its speaker be left on charge when they are not being used.  The battery
life of the GPS and its speaker is five hours.

Leader is making this unit available to its current and former graduates at
no cost.  Because they want to make this unit available to everyone who
wishes it, the pricepoint is $295.

Please understand that I am forwarding this message only for your
information and consideration.


Debbie Grubb

----- Original Message ----- From: "Kenneth Semien, Sr." <semien@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
To: <leadership@xxxxxxx>
Sent: Saturday, June 04, 2011 12:44 AM
Subject: [leadership] Leader Dog Unveils Navigation Tech for the Blind

Leader Dog Unveils Navigation Tech for the Blind
ROCHESTER HILLS, MI, (May, 2011) On Tuesday, May 24, 10:00 a.m. Leader Dogs
for the Blind launched a new personal navigation device that will
dramatically increase a blind or visually impaired person's ability to
travel on foot independently. The Kapten PLUS device has been eighteen
months in development in partnership with France-based Kapsys. Leader Dog
will be the sole U.S. rights-holder and distributor of the device. Leader
Dogs for the Blind believes that everyone has the right to travel
independently to go here, there, everywhere they desire. But without the
benefit of street signs or printed maps to help get them where they want to go, people who are blind may be isolated and frequently required to rely on
others to help them with directions. "The Kapten PLUS changes everything.
Our ultimate goal is that everyone who is visually impaired will have
specialized GPS to enhance their mobility - so there must be an affordable
price-point to make it accessible to all who need it," said Greg Grabowski,
Leader Dog president and CEO. "We are on the verge of making audible
pedestrian GPS standard technology for people who are blind." In 2005 Leader
Dog became the first guide dog organization to provide GPS training to
people while they also used a cane or a guide dog. The new Kapten PLUS unit creates the first truly affordable GPS solution tailored for the blind, at a
price of only $295, compared to earlier costs in the thousands of dollars.
The device will be offered at no cost to all Leader Dog clients. It will
also be available to other blind and visually impaired persons through its
online gift shop, www.leaderdog.org. After intensive early development
activity, Leader Dog clients begin testing the Kapten PLUS a year ago. This
past March, Kapten PLUS units were used and distributed for free in guide
dog instruction as well as orientation and mobility classes at Leader Dog.
"Kapsys is extremely pleased to collaborate with Leader Dog, as a worldwide
leader in navigation solutions for the blind, to provide a number of
technologies embedded in the Kapten PLUS after years of intense
development," said Aram Hekimian, CEO and founder of Kapsys. "This project
serves as a great example of how such a social device can provide mobility
to the blind and visually impaired community that we are pleased to design
for." "The Kapten PLUS is a powerful tool, providing a new layer of
information combined with a guide dog or white cane to make the world
explorable  helping locate the places we most enjoy," said Harold Abraham,
Leader Dog's Chief Innovation Officer. "Kapten is a crucial stepping stone
and Leader Dog will continue to pursue the collaborative refinement of
location technology, while driving down cost even further in order to give
access to even more people." Leader Dogs for the Blind is a nonprofit
organization that has been providing independent travel to people who are
blind through the use of Leader Dogs since its founding in 1939. Over the
years, Leader Dogs for the Blind has provided independent mobility to more
than 14,000 individuals. The services of the organization are provided free
of charge. The organization also provides classes for orientation and
mobility, pedestrian GPS and a summer camp for teens. For more information
on Leader Dogs for the Blind, call (888) 777-5332.

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