Camera Knowledge FREEDOMBy Penrod, William M.; Goodman, Deborah; Bauder, Debra; Simmons, Thomas; Closing the Gap, Vol. 30, No. 2, pp. 34-35
Publication Date: June/July 2011
Article features the FREEDOM electronic travel aid (ETA). ETAs are classified into two broad categories: primary devices which can be used to replace a mobility system such as a cane or dog guide, and secondary devices, which must be used in conjunction with a mobility system. The FREEDOM is a secondary ETA for pedestrians who are blind. It consists of a portable digital video camera with a vibro-tactile necklace. The ETA displays the heading and range of objects with three vibrators on the necklace. It also provides alerts for overhangs. A rechargeable battery powers the FREEDOM and is included in the device. The ETA is useful both indoors and outdoors and works in day and night settings. It has selectable ranges, from one to several meters. FREEDOM continuously takes three dimensional digital video and displays the location of objects in three dimensions with the vibro-tactile necklace. An audio signal alerts the user of objects above the cane at the head level. When an obstacle is detected that is directly in front of the wearer, the middle of the necklace vibrates. The closer the obstacle is to the wearer, the stronger the vibration sensation. Likewise, obstacles to the left or right cause the respective left or right part of the necklace to vibrate. The device can reportedly be learned in minutes, and field testing by the manufacturer on city streets revealed that the FREEDOM did not attract unwanted attention from passersby.
Published by: Closing the Gap, Inc. (Website:http://www.closingthegap.com)