Course Date Technology 1. Introduction The advent of computers has revolutionized the mode of life for humans. It would not be wrong to say that mankind has leaped to a new level due to the different inventions of the current times…
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2. New Technology for Blind Individuals There are many individuals in the world who do not have the power of sight. This loss makes visually impaired individuals dependent on others for their daily routine activities like making a trip to the grocery store, visiting a friend etc. Technology has contributed its part in the development of new techniques to make life better for individuals who have low sightedness or blindness. The technology that has been chosen for analysis helps blind individuals find their way around the streets and neighborhoods without any supervision. Blind people tend to be comfortable in the vicinity of their homes since they are well-acquainted with the placement of objects and the structure of the premises. On the contrary, they feel threatened to get out in the real world on their own due to the unknown directions and locations. The fear of getting lost also ceases such independent trips. Modern technology has successfully provided blind people with effective devices to overcome the previously stated fears. An innovative technology has been invented that guides the blind person about the directions that are required to be taken to reach a specific direction. The device is known by the name of ‘Intersection Explorer’ and it has been released by Google in 2010 (Google Inc.,). Intersection Explorer includes a touch screen which is provided with a virtual map of any desired location in the world. The blind user can select the map of his neighborhood to explore the region and seek directions for a desired place. Google maps is incorporated in the device due to which the blind person cannot get lost; Google maps provide extensive mapping features, coupled with the local business information, for example, all restaurants can be listed on its search features that would be located in a certain region or city (Google Maps). This device is also based on GPS technology that is defined as the global positioning system (Purewal); GPS determines the position of a user with the help of satellites maintained in the space (Lammertsma). The blind person does not have to type anything in the device to get directions; rather it is operated by touching the screen of the device. The aspect of touch operations makes the technology even more convenient for blind users since they take longer periods of time to type (as compared to sighted individuals) and require special keyboards with Braille display to input their desired text. The user browses his finger around the screen of the device and gets audio feedback about the place where his finger is pointed. The person gets notified about his position as he crosses different streets. This feature ensures that the user does not get lost and is aware about his current position at all time, for example, “Moved 70 meters towards Park Lane” (Raman). Figure 1: Intersection Explorer displaying nearby streets and intersections. The red spot indicates the position of the user . The most interesting feature of this technology gets revealed when the user gets the feeling of being lost. The user can trace his finger on the screen in a circle and the device will provide feedback about all the streets that have been crossed. This information can highlight any wrong directions that might have been taken in the respective path. The operations of this device are not very complex therefore any person with minimal computer
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