The National Federation of the Blind and Virginia Tech say they hope to demonstrate a prototype equipped with technology that helps a sightless person to get behind the wheel in 2011.The technology, called nonvisual interfaces, will guide its driver through traffic by transmitting information about nearby vehicles or objects.Vibrating gloves or streams of compressed air directed behind the wheel are among the options for communicating the information needed to avoid collisions and reach a destination.Advocates for the blind describe the scheme as a "moon shot," drawing parallels with President John F. Kennedy's pledge to land a man on the moon."We're exploring areas that have previously been regarded as unexplorable," said Dr. Mark Maurer, president of the National Federation of the Blind. "We're moving away from the theory that blindness ends the capacity of human beings to make contributions to society."
Mr Maurer first came up with the idea that the blind could drive about a decade ago when he launched the organisation's research institute. "Some people thought I was crazy, and they thought, 'Why do you want us to raise money for something that can't be done?' Others thought it was a great idea," Mr Maurer said. "Some people were incredulous. Others thought the idea was incredible."
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