Thursday, September 23, 2010

Yes, the blind CAN lead the blind (Brainovi)

The Braindead Techcast, hosted by Steven and Sean, recently highlighted a DVICE story about the Brainovi, described as a "Braille GPS."

The Brainovi uses a combination of spoken directions relayed over a Bluetooth wireless earpiece, and a physical 3D map created on the pin matrix surface of the Brainovi. The user can enter their destination verbally, and the Brainovi calculates the route.

Yanko Design has more information about the device, including pictures - which, at least for those of us who are sighted, will give us an idea of how the device works.

Which, incidentally, points out another issue that the blind face, and one that I've actually encountered in my day job. As many tasks become image-based (including, for example, verification that two fingerprints belong to the same person), how can the images become accessible to the blind? Now in some cases, simple images can be rendered "visible" to the blind through the use of tooltips and alternate text for images, but what happens when a complex picture, such as a picture of a fingerprint or a picture of an electronic device, needs to be presented to a blind person?

If anyone has any knowledge of this area, please share in the comments.
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