[nabs] Fwd: [Fwd: [GDF-TALK] a cane for the blind improves socialinteractions]
bookwormahb at earthlink.net
Wed Nov 30 19:29:36 EST 2011
I find such technology offensive. They didn't consult blind people first.
Socializing is an issue. But that can be solved by learning social skills
and manners from parents, teachers and other role models. If we have our
head down or rock or exhibit bad posture, we are not approachable. But if we
look and act approachable,
we will have social interactions. It says we need a device to communicate
with people beside us. Okay, a piece of junk.
We can say hi and see who is there. We can sense that or extend a regular
cane to feel a person's foot or something.
One can also hear breathing if its quiet. Come one, we can be aware of our
From: NABS SecondVP
Sent: Wednesday, November 30, 2011 7:12 PM
To: nabs at acb.org
Subject: [nabs] Fwd: [Fwd: [GDF-TALK] a cane for the blind improves
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: "Caitlin L." <unspokenanswer at riseup.net>
Date: Tue, 29 Nov 2011 16:46:29 -0500
Subject: [Fwd: [GDF-TALK] a cane for the blind improves social interactions]
To: secondvicepresident.acbstudents at gmail.com
---------------------------- Original Message ----------------------------
Subject: [GDF-TALK] a cane for the blind improves social interactions
From: "Vic Pereira" <vic.peartree at gmail.com>
Date: Tue, November 29, 2011 7:49 am
To: "*GDF Talk" <GDF-TALK at yahoogroups.com>
"*VIRN Tech" <virn-tech at googlegroups.com>
A Cane For The Blind Improves Social Interactions, Sunday Strolls
Photo courtesy of: The Dyson Awards
As scientists make slow and steady progress on sensors to help the
blind see and move, this cane helps them say hi to friends.
While the National Federation for the Blind is pushing to build an
auto interface that lets visually impaired people drive safely and
autonomously design student Selene Chew has a more modest
technological breakthrough to help the 285 million people who are
blind or partially blind The BlSpot cane, a clever and empathetic
technological attempt to create new opportunities for social
interaction for the visually impaired by harnessing GPS technology and
non-visual interface design.
"I took the approach to serve their emotional needs more than just
their physical needs," she says. So, for her design program at the
National University of Singapore, she built a prototype white cane
that doubles as a GPS-enabled smartphone with a tactile and audio
interface that lets a blind user walk more confidently while
navigating social settings a little more easily than usual.
"Their social life is dependent on the people around them. They
cannot say hi to a friend without the friend saying hi first," Chew
explains. A blind person could be standing right next to a friend at
a bus stop and not know it. The BlSpot cane will alert the blind
friend that someone they know is nearby, and direct them to initiate a
hello. That's an empowering new ability. It's not a pressing health
issue that a blind person won't ever see a classmate across the quad
and be able to go up to them to ask about sharing notes, or that a
blind child wouldn't know his mother arrived at school to pick him up
until she comes over to tap him on the shoulder. But each step toward
fuller autonomy is an important one for the sensory impaired.
The friend-finding feature works because the cane contains a
specially designed phone that slots into the handle and connects to a
Bluetooth earpiece with an audio interface. A trackball on the handle
controls the menu and points which way to go.
When a friend checks in on Foursquare (or any other location-sharing
service), the cane alerts the blind user with an audio message, saying
how far away the person is, down to how many steps it will take to reach
The cane offers the option to ignore, call the friend, or, most
impressively, go find them, an option blind people don't usually get to
"The tactile navigator is a directional pointer that translates GPS
map directions into an 'arrowb that points towards the way to go," Chew
In addition to the phone features, the BlSpot cane also does a better
job at its primary function, preventing a blind person from walking
An ultrasonic sensor detects obstacles a normal cane would not, like
hanging objects, rails, or other protruding structures that the
ground-level sweep of a cane might miss. The product demonstration
video portrays the everyday danger of a broom handle slanting out of a
garbage can, for instance. A standard cane would sweep under the
broom without detecting it, leaving the handle dangerously aimed right
at the blind walkerbs head. The BlSpot cane senses it and beeps a
warning call in the Bluetooth earpiece.
And like other minimalist white gadgets with just one button these
days, the BlSpotbs design elegance makes it easier to handle at home.
The electronic components detach from the cane to charge, cable-free,
on an inductive charging dock. And when the phone component is not
inserted, it acts just like a regular cell phone, so you can still
accept calls without the Bluetooth headset, controlling the menu with
the tactile track ball on the back.
Chew is currently looking to find a partner to bring this design to
market on an industrial level. She was recently recognized with second
prize in the James Dyson Awards.
Copyright 2011 Mansueto Ventures, LLC.
nabs mailing list
nabs at acb.org
More information about the nabs