The goal of this project is to develop an Electronic Travel Aid (ETA) for blind and visually impaired people.
We will begin by identifying deficiencies of current assistive technologies. This requires that we investigate how the blind use technology and their other senses for navigation. Currently, the blind augment their senses of hearing and touch through the use of a cane or a seeing--eye dog for local planning, and GPS devices can be used for planning over greater distances (assuming that a suitable interface is available).
We plan to develop a device from the basic principles of product design that addresses some deficiencies in these current methods and provides other features that help the blind navigate in social settings which otherwise rely heavily on sight. While we have not yet decided on the morphology or particular task to be solved by the product, we hope to address such issues such as the limited range or field of view of current technologies while avoiding undesired sensory stimuli (such as distracting audio output) or undue cognitive load.