Tuesday, March 20, 2007

GPS to give blind people greater mobility

An Italian technology company is pioneering a GPS satellite system that will give blind people greater independence and mobility:

The Easy Walk service has been developed by Il Village, a firm in Turin in northern Italy. It is currently being tested by a group of 30 people from the Italian Blind Union who are providing feedback.

Easy Walk uses a mobile phone that runs the Symbian operating system, a small Bluetooth GPS receiver, text to speech software called Talks (though rival products are also compatible) and a call centre that will operate around the clock seven days a week.

It requires just two dedicated keys on the mobile phone - one which, when pressed, tells the user their exact location including the house or building number and the other one alerts the call centre that the person needs assistance with navigation. An operator will then call the blind person, find out where it is they need to go and stay on the line with them providing step by step instructions.

A good use of location-awareness, surely? Some people might benefit from being tracked...

Full story - GPS navigation plan to help blind


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