This is absolutely fascinating. Ever wonder why there are no navigational devices suitable for indoor use? Ever wished to be able to efficiently navigate a mall, a hotel, or other indoor space? Wonder why, when there is no end to the solutions for auto or pedestrian use, there seems to be no version of GPS for people who are blind to use indoors?
Take a look at this. It’s called Navatar. In its earliest stages, research is being conducted on a device to assist blind users to move around in smaller spaces indoors. Read more here:
Dr. Eelke Folmer is an Associate Professor researching Human-Computer Interaction
in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at the University of Nevada, Reno. "We are planning to expand our navigation system with a new feature that can help with spatial perception," says Eelke. "We are currently sending out a questionnaire to potential users of our system to better understand the barriers of indoor navigation."
Want to help with the research? below is a short questionnaire that you can fill out and send to Eelke. Just cut and paste the questions into the body of an email, answer as thoroughly as you can, and send off the email to the address at the bottom of this post.
I hope to have the opportunity to field test the actual device, so you can grease the wheels for me by letting Eelke know I sent you. Well, now that I think of it, perhaps too many respondents will actually work to my detriment. Hmmm. Okay, here are the questions:
1. What type of visual impairment do you have?
2. Do you use a cane to navigate in indoor environments? and if so can
you name some limitations on using a cane in indoor environments?
3. Do you use a cane to explore the layout of a room? if not do you
use other techniques? e.g. hands?
4. Can you describe the process you follow to familiarize yourself
with the contents of a room?
5. When you look for an object in a room (e.g., phone or coffee cup)
what techniques do you use?
6. Do you sometimes use a sighted person to familiarize yourself with
an indoor environment? If so what kind of questions do you ask this
7. If we could build a tool that could help with spatial exploration,
what kind of features would you like this to have?
Send completed questionnaire to: Eelke Folmer - eelke.folmer at gmail.com