The matter of tactile resolution is not merely a matter of the low
resolution deliverable by mechanical stimulation. It is also dependent
upon how closely in space one can resolve a sensation. In essence, the
task here is to determine how small a "point" is. It is my belief that,
even with electronic resolution, you could not impart sufficient
environmental detail to provide more useful information than is provided
by one's ears, feet and cane or guide dog. And let us be clear: such a
device *might* prove useful only if it provided detail orders of
magnitude better than that we currently can glean from our senses (I am
Furthermore, there is the matter of translating one's environment from
three dimensions to two. There will be no parilax to aid in this process
so the user of your device would be left unable to judge the distance to
any object s/he might detect.
I am not ruling out electronic travel aids altogether. There may come a
time when a truly useful aid comes along. Unfortunately, that time is not
We, the blind, are glad to enter into this dialogue with you. There are
certain devices which would be most useful which no one has yet built.
For instance, how about an accurate (to the degree) nonmagnetic
electronic compass? It could be set to give you verbally the heading you
are traveling in or beep when you deviated from a set heading. There is
already a talking magnetic compass (though its readout isn't detailed
enough). It would be interesting to see if solid-state inertial guidance
systems have come far enough to build such a device that is practical and
Just one man's suggestion.
-- Mike Freeman | Internet: email@example.com GEnie: M.FREEMAN11 | Amateur Radio Callsign: K7UIJ /* PGP2.6.2 PUBLIC KEY available via finger or PGP key server */ ... Bureaucrats cut red tape -- lengthwise.
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