BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
 You are in: Health  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
Medical notes
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
EDITIONS
Friday, 22 November, 2002, 17:32 GMT
Satellite guidance helps the blind
The hand-held system
The system tells people where they are
Blind and partially-sighted people could now get extra help to negotiate their way round cities - with a new handheld satellite tracker.

Linked up to a satellite in space, the "Victor Trekker" system tells blind and partially sighted users which road they are walking down, which shops and buildings are near them and when they are coming up to a junction.

Eventually the device will be so detailed that if you walk into a supermarket it should be able to say what offers are on special that day.

At the moment the system costs 1,100, but manufacturers hope the price will soon drop as the technology is developed further.

Independence

Yvan Legace, vice president of VisuAid, the Canadian based company that developed the device in Association with the Royal National Institute for the Blind (RNIB), said the it will enable greater independence.

"One of the first needs is for people to be able to move around to go to school and to the shops.


New technologies such as GPS can really support the independence of blind people as they go about their daily lives

Richard Orme, RNIB

"This system will tell people what intersection they are on and provide information about where the restaurants and hotels are."

He said that although blind people were able to get around safely using just white sticks or guide dogs, that they currently still needed to ask for help about whether they had reached their destination.

Satellite

The Victor Trekker uses a global positioning satellite (GPS) receiver, similar to systems currently used in cars, aircraft and boats.

It is hooked up to an electronic voice-box which tells users where they are as well as giving them precise directions to their destination.

The device is on view at the RNIB's Vision 2002 exhibition, in Birmingham.

Richard Orme, the RNIB's Assistant Director of Information Communications Technology Services said this sort of technology is vital for promoting independence.

"New technologies such as GPS can really support the independence of blind people as they go about their daily lives.

"People with sight difficulties must be able to use everyday things like mobile phones, computers, digital TV, education resources, job information and websites."

See also:

05 Nov 02 | Technology
04 Dec 98 | Health
09 Jan 02 | Health
17 Dec 01 | Health
15 Mar 01 | Health
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Health stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Health stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes