An obstacle signaling system for the blind
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Many commercial navigation aids suffer from a number of design flaws, the most important of which are related to the human interface that conveys information to the user. Aids for the visually impaired are lightweight electronic devices that are either incorporated into a long cane, hand-held or worn by the client, warning of hazards ahead. Most aids use vibrating buttons or sound alerts to warn of upcoming obstacles, a method which is only capable of conveying very crude information regarding direction and proximity to the nearest object. Some of the more sophisticated devices use a complex audio interface in order to deliver more detailed information, but this often compromises the user’s hearing, a critical impairment for a blind user. The author has produced an original design and working prototype solution which is a major first step in addressing some of these faults found in current production models for the blind.
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