One Step Forward: Advancing Sustainable and Reliable Wayfinding Technology for Persons Who Are Blind
Editors note: Gateway Navigation CCC Ltd., in support of White Cane Week 2020 we have created a series of articles highlighting information on innovations, standards, projects and advocacy related to indoor audio-based navigation Systems. Gateway Navigation provides consultant services that engage stakeholders and partners in creating human centred, well-engineered and inclusive wayfinding solutions.
White Cane Week 2020 is Sunday, February 2nd through Saturday, February 8thThis important week of community outreach and raising public awareness by the members and friends of the Canadian Council of the Blind. Shares information on the programs, services and advocacy promoting an inclusive and barrier free Canada for all persons who are blind, deaf-blind and visually impaired.
Innovation: Inclusive Audio-Based Navigation Systems
The challenge of orientation to indoor environments and Indoor Navigation for individuals with disabilities for people who are blind or visually impaired, obtaining and using information to support independent travel and finding directions to walk around public spaces and buildings is a critical requirement.
Up until now, GPS, BLE Beacons and Wi-Fi have been the main technology players in the journey to delivering reliable, accurate and economically sustainable indoor audio-based navigation networks. Unfortunately, none have been able to break through with wide market acceptance. The good news and what we wanted to share, is the wait may be over!
Cambridge Consultants and its parent organization Altran are global leaders in Engineering and R&D services. Utilizing a recent breakthrough called Trace Technology. Cambridge Consultants has partnered with Waymap to create a unique smartphone service that assists people who are blind or visually impaired to navigate through complex indoor spaces, such as public transport hubs and universities.
Trace is a breakthrough in indoor location tracking using the tiny, low-cost inertial sensors found in smartphones, coupled with ingenious data fusion algorithms. Crucially, Trace is not reliant on external references or GPS. Cambridge Consultants developed bespoke algorithms that harness its deep understanding of inertial sensors and the mechanics of human motion, gained from extensive work in fitness technology development. The system aims to locate the user to within half a meter - a single step – a new and necessary level of accuracy needed in order to deliver reliable audio navigation.
In 2019, Waymap tested and trialed the system in Los Angeles and New York. Product launch is scheduled for some time in 2020.
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