Accessible interfaces: driving blind

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Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Accessibility is about making tools usable by a wide variety of people, taking into account each person's different abilities. On the web, this means making sites compatible with a wide variety of assistive technologies. In the real world, this means making affordances, such as ramps so that people using wheelchairs can gain access to buildings. Now some new technology is making it possible for people who are blind to drive cars.

The technology works by translating scanned visual cues into non-visual cues, such as bumps in the driver's seat, or noises. It could pave the way for allowing people who are blind to drive on public roads, once the equipment is fitted to commercial vehicles starting in 2011.

The work on the technology is being done by Virginia Tech in conjunction with the American National Federation for the Blind.

It is exciting to see new technology being used in a way that brings old technology, such as cars, to more people.

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