Here is the latest from Patrick.
Cordially, Curtis Chong
--- Forwarded Message ---
Date: 24-Feb-94 09:03 PST
From: "Patrick L. Kallewaard" >INTERNET:93701420@VAX1.DCU.IE
Subj: Navigation aid research
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Date: Thu, 24 Feb 1994 16:57:08 +0000
Reply-To: Computer Use by and for the Blind <BLIND-L@UAFSYSB.UARK.EDU>
Sender: Computer Use by and for the Blind <BLIND-L@UAFSYSB.UARK.EDU>
From: "Patrick L. Kallewaard" <93701420@VAX1.DCU.IE>
Subject: Navigation aid research
Comments: To: firstname.lastname@example.org
To: Multiple recipients of list BLIND-L <BLIND-L@UAFSYSB.UARK.EDU>
From: Patrick Kallewaard
I will do my best to answer the questions. However, please
remember that no specifics have been established for this system.
>1. What kind of environmental modifications would this supposedly
> cheap and limited function system require?
No noticeable environmental modifications would be required. The sytem
is based on route recognition rather than the tracking of audio, i.r. or
>2. How "cheap" are you talking here?
The main cost of this system would in fact be the user interface and
installation costs. It is impossible for me at this stage to say what
the overall cost would be. However, no expensive equipment such as a
GPS receiver is involved. Tactile interfaces tend to be quite expensive
in their own right, but a simple tactile and audio buzzer may be sufficient,
a signal being emmited when the interface is pointed in the correct
direction. The interface could therefore also serve as an orientation aid.
We are certainly NOT talking about thousands of dollars, I would imagine the
user interface to be below $200. I would hope that any company or
organisation willing to install such a system would also provide user
interfaces to any person entering their building. I cannot comment on
installation costs as they would depend on labour cost and the size of the
area to be covered.
>3. How would the user program the desired destination?
That is an issue that must be investigated further. It is certainly not an
easy one. A braille style keypad may be used, or the more expensive option
would be voice command. The user would have to enter the name of his/her
destination, such as 'exit' or 'terminal 12', or alternatively, a choice
of destinations could perhaps be presented to the user, who then selects.
Of course, the more complicated this system, the more expensive. A balance
must be found.
>4. How many destinations could be programmed?
That will depend on the memory available to the device. Each destination
would require data to be stored. Digital memory chips are becoming bigger
and cheaper all the time. I do not foresee any reasonable limitations on
the amount of destinations that could be specified.
>5. How would a blind person follow the route?
The user interface will tell the user whether he or she is going in the
right direction for the specified destination.
>6. Above all, WHO WILL TAKE THE RESPONSIBILITY TO PROGRAM THE
> SYSTEM TO ENSURE THAT IT CONTAINS THE DATA NECESSARY TO PLOT
> A ROUTE?
Every time such a system is installed, carefull planing will be required.
Each route would have to be tried and tested, preferably by somebody
that is blind.
>The point I am making here is that your
>system needs to be separate from anything that we already use to
Point well taken. Incorporating the device into a cane would have been
usefull from a technical point of view, but as you point out, this is
impractical for some and not desired by others.
>At the risk of casting aspersions upon your work, I hope you are
>not trying to develop a piece of technology simply for the sake of
If I was, I would have developed it already and would not be spending
considerable time in trying to establish both what is needed and wanted.
>Consider my earlier suggestion that someone develop a non-magnetic
>compas that could be used without sight.
Your suggestion is being taken seriously and will be brought up at
the meeting I mentioned in my previous posting, along with the suggestion
of a virtual map.
The suggestion that some the system may double as a security device also
seems a point worth considering. Certainly this would enlarge the overall
appeal of the system and make it more financially feasible.
Thanks again for all the replies and suggestions so far.
Patrick Kallewaard E-mail email@example.com
Faculty of Electronic Engineering Phone +353 +1 7045872
Dublin City University,
Glasnevin, Dublin 9
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