>From: Peter Meijer <Peter.B.L.Meijer@philips.com>
>Subject: [The vOICe] New sonar device
>Date: Tue, 06 Mar 2001 07:50:46 -0800
>For your information. A Reuters article about a
>new sonar device from Singapore, appended below.
>Seeing with Sound - The vOICe
>Singapore Device Helps Blind Hear Their Way Around.
>SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Blind people may soon get help from a cheap
>electronic device developed by a pair of Singapore students that
>tells them about objects in their paths.
>The yet unnamed prototype electronic travel aid (ETA) is strapped
>round the waist or chest and uses ultrasonic waves to detect obstacles
>to the left, right and center at distances of up to five yards.
>Using plain language, the ETA delivers warnings such as ''Obstacle.
>Front. Three meters'' via a discrete earpiece.
>The device was unveiled at Nanyang Technological University's
>exhibition of student projects which opened on Monday.
>The Singapore-made ETA improves upon models available in the United
>States which use different pitch sounds to indicate the proximity of
>an obstacle, associate professor Lee Peng Hin, who supervised the
>project, told Reuters.
>It's also cheaper. Components for the new ETA and an accompanying
>device called a Zoner cost S$150 ($85), while U.S. models retail
>for about $4,500, Lee said.
>The Zoner transmits pre-set messages to the ETA and can be installed
>almost anywhere to tell blind people about bus numbers or flights of
>stairs, for example.
>Developers Ho Siong Teck and Philip Quek designed the ETA to report
>only real hazards.
>A moving object directly in front of the blind person which is moving
>away rapidly will not be reported as it poses no danger, Ho said.
>The U.S. models give continuous feedback on all obstacles, which could
>lead to information overload, he added.
>The ETA, about the size of a compact camera, operates on standard
>batteries. The two students are looking to commercialize the product,
>which can also accommodate other languages.
>``We wanted to develop something which is cheap and affordable for
>the visually handicapped,'' Quek said.
>Source URL: http://www.siliconvalley.com/docs/news/reuters_wire/920799l.htm
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