Step-by-Step Prompts Put the Blind on Track

October 18, 2002 | Source: New York Times

A voice-controlled interactive personal navigation system could someday guide blind people. It communicates wirelessly with databases of detailed geographic information that can quickly be updated to reflect changing conditions.

Developed by University of Florida students, the Drishti (vision in Sanskrit) system can be configured to work in cities, in airports and on other campuses. It uses a wearable computer running I.B.M.’s ViaVoice software, connected to a GPS receiver and wirelessly with the university’s geographical information system. Ultrasonic transmitters on a building’s ceilings and receivers on the computer would allow indoor navigation.