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Audio guidance helps the vision impaired, see the world

Supplier: Clarinox Technologies Pty Ltd
21 October, 2010

Melbourne has received the world's most liveable city award many times over.

The city authorities intend to live up to this reputation through the support for numerous community support programs. One such as these was the trial of a system for the vision impaired which provided them with the information they needed to enjoy the city of Melbourne.

Vision impairment
The chance of vision difficulties increased with age and so this is a problem that is becoming more apparent with the ageing of the Australian population. Vision Australia is a not for profit organisation that assists people with complete blindness and severe vision impairment. Clarinox worked with volunteers from Vision Australia to test the effectiveness of the proposed solution.

Wireless audio transfer
Bluetooth was used to transfer information pertinent to the user from Digital Spark kiosk scattered around the Melbourne central business district. These kiosks acted on local hubs which stored and then played audio to the person with visual impairment upon their approach to the kiosk. Information provided included notification of any building work or other hazards on footpaths and the location of tram stops.

Clarinox role
Clarinox provided hardware and software for the trial of the system by volunteers from Vision Australia. Clarinox used Bluetooth to provide the audio which streamed real-time from the nearby hub upon approach by the vision impaired volunteer.

Future plans
The project provided a prototype unit to demonstrate and test the concept. Future plans for the City of Melbourne and Vision Australia include the raising of funding to provide such a system on a more permanent basis.