This is just a quick comment concerning the appearance of blind people, with or
without electronic travel aids. It is important for us to appear reasonably
"normal," if we are to be accepted by the general public. There is considerable
research that indicates that people that appear outside an acceptable range, are
avoided by others. Blindness, itself, is enough to cause some, if not many,
people within the general public to avoid us; therefore, we certainly do not
need to exacerbate the situation by poor grooming, or by other things, over which
we have control, that detract from our appearance.
Now, having said that, I will tell you that I market tested a pair of sonar
glasses for a manufacturing firm in Canada. One of the consistent reactions
that we received from the general public was the glasses made the user look like
he or she was from outerspace. The glasses, themselves, had a "bug eyed"
appearance, and then, the electronics were clipped to one's belt with various
wires running from the glasses down to the electronics packet. Aside from the
appearance, the glasses didn't really work that well, especially around shiny,
metal objects, like automobiles. Maneuvering, for instance, in a parking lot
was, indeed, a serious challenge, especially if one were dependent upon only the
sonar glasses. I felt the glasses, in conjunction with the long cane, offered
some significant improvement in assistance in some, but not all, environments.
Thus, any travel aid should be as consistent as possible in a wide variety of
environmental settings. Ideally, it should be relatively inconspicuous.
Ham call: AC4HM
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