Wired News- gadgets no help for the blind


Wired News has recently taken a look at gadgets and how they might help the blind in their daily lives.  Their conclusion, unfortunately correct, is that despite all the mobile technology that exists today as it is currently used it is of little use for the blind.  It shouldn’t be this way as there is a lot of technology that can be leveraged to provide voice control and feedback on both PDAs and mobile computers like Tablet PCs.  The Wired article discusses the Levar Burton Vision Enhancement Technology Center which is trying to do something about the problem.  The article is an interesting look at the problem and how scientists are trying to tackle it.

That’s the principle behind the Levar Burton Vision Enhancement Technology Center, a fledgling venture in Morgantown, West Virginia, that will pair the resources of West Virginia University and Georgia Tech with private-sector partners like Motorola Corp.

Levar Burton, who played blind Lt. Geordi La Forge in Star Trek: The Next Generation, is lending his name and star power to fund-raising efforts for the center. Though he’s not blind, he wore a visor on the set that impaired his vision by 75 percent for nearly 12 hours a day.

The center and its partners will use off-the-shelf technologies like lasers, magnifiers and global positioning systems to develop, test and market products that help people see better. The American Foundation for the Blind, which runs a technology evaluation center in Huntington, West Virginia, will advise the scientists.

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