Importance of Information Selectivity in Navigating the CommunityBy Ross, David A.; AER Journal: Research and Practice in Visual Impairment and Blindness, Vol. 2, No. 3, pp. 121-127
Publication Date: Summer 2009
Article describes the development and evaluation of three orientation and wayfinding technologies for persons with vision loss, applying a rationale emphasizing information-selective and effort-selective design considerations. (1) SeeStar, an OnStar-like system for persons with visual impairment, uses a videoconferencing system which places live video from the user’s cell phone camera onto a remote assistant’s computer monitor, which in turn shows the user’s location and movement on a Google Earth satellite image of the area, information which the assistant uses to guide the user in tasks such as planning a destination route. (2) SeeScan uses Object Recognition software to identify objects and settings as imaged through a computer webcam installed on a handheld computer. The webcam is worn around the user’s neck facing forward, and the computer is placed in a vest pocket so the user can hear its auditory output. The software has two modes of operation: learn and identify. Evaluations of the technologies with visually-impaired participants revealed that information given SeeStar users was best provided before they started walking, while drawbacks to SeeScan identified were the low quality of the synthesized speech and the system's provision of more information than necessary. These findings were used to inform the design of (3) Talking Braille, a wayfinding system that can read Braille signs from a distance. The system, which the user accesses via a receiver worn as a badge and a cell phone, features improved speech-synthesis software and provides indoor information in the form of one-second characteristic sounds such as a doorbell signal identifying an entrance. In an evaluation of the system, all 24 participants found the final destination of a test route without missing any turns.
Published by: Association for Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired (Website:http://www.aerbvi.org)
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