I wish to add some comments to the discussions on electronic travel aids, in
> particular the range of devices such as the Sonnic Guide that use ultra-sound
> the means of detecting the objects.
> The development work for the Sonnic Torch and Sonnic Guide was done by a
> Professor Lesley Kay, who is still working in the field here in New Zealand.
> While his primary work is now more focused on harnessing sonnic sensors to
> robots as a form of artificial vision, he has not completely removed himself
> from working with blind people.
> Following on from the Sonnic Guide, he developed a unit called the Trisensor.
> believe this was never in commercial production, but numerous experiments were
> conducted in the early 1980s with the trisensor, particularly focusing on its
> use as an aid to develop spacial awareness and concepts in blind children.
> of this work was done by the Royal New Zealand Foundation for the Blind at its
> school for blind children.
Professor Kay visited the National Center for the Blind a few
months ago, maybe six or so, and showed us this device.
It is interesting, the headphones weren't that bad,
but I did feel goffy with the handband on.
Secondly, the range wasn't that great, and the stuff close up, you could just
reach out and tell more.
At a greater distance it told you less, so the info had little meaning.
the other side of this whole thing is that some day we might have some
truly useful electronic aids. We have to pass through some bad ones to get
It s evolutionary.
Finally, my observations tell me that very few foreign people have
good cane travel training like we do at our centers.
If they did, I wonder how much they would be interested in
these electronic aids.
They may be using them as a substitute for good travel trainig,
which they don't know about. They don't have many expectations of
good cane travel.
David Andrews, director
International Braille and Technology Center
for the Blind
National Federation of the Blind
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