Tools that help with navigation.
See below article
Posted by Kim Kilpatrick
It seems that very regularly thee days, products are tested and developed to help people who are blind or have low vision to get around.
However, sometimes these products are developed without consulting people who are blind to know what they exactly need and would like in a product.
I find this happens most with navigation apps and tools.
What is it we want to know when traveling outside?
How much is too much distraction?
How much information do we need?
What format do we want it in?
This project seems to be testing many people who are blind or have low vision. This is always a good sign.
They also seem to be testing travelers who use canes, guide dogs, some with less and some with more vision.
Also, they seem to be asking the testers what else they might use the device to do.
This is very interesting reading.
Posted by Kim Kilpatrick
Putting SUNU to the test
Perkins students, staff take award-winning navigation tool for a spin
Rob, a Perkins student, uses the navigational wristband SUNU to locate
doorways during a testing session for the device.
December 30, 2014
Byline: Alix Hackett
No one likes waiting in line at the bank, least of all Perkins teacher Kate
Katulak. Because she is visually impaired, Katulak sometimes has trouble
keeping tabs on the person in front of her, which can lead to some awkward
“With a guide dog you have to constantly ask people, ‘Excuse me, are you
moving up?’” she explained. “And if I say ‘forward’ to my dog she’s going to
lead me right around people… so I cut a lot of lines.”
Enter SUNU (formerly known as Ustraap), a wristband that uses an ultrasonic
sensor to detect obstacles and vibrate as they come closer. Someone wearing
SUNU while waiting in line can feel the vibrations lessening as the person
in front of them advances, prompting them to move forward themselves.
Katulak was able to try the product for herself during a recent two-day
testing session run by SUNU and Perkins Products to gather feedback on the
wristband, which is still in the prototype phase. Perkins Products staff
formed a makeshift line, and Katulak practiced moving forward an appropriate
distance behind them. On the first try, she was able to mirror the movement
of the person in front of her.
“The band pulsated, and the pulsation kept getting lighter and lighter so I
moved toward you,” she said. “That’s pretty cool.”
SUNU touts itself primarily as a navigational device, designed to help
people who are blind avoid low-hanging tree branches or find doorways in a
room. But during testing, SUNU’s chief strategy officer Fernando Albertorio
was interested in hearing what other uses people came up with after wearing
the wristband for the first time.
“To be honest with you, this is a use we hadn’t even thought of,” he said,
referring to standing in line. “These two days are really about learning as
much as we can in order to make improvements to the product and inform our
launch and how we market it.”
SUNU and Perkins have been working together ever since SUNU (then known as
Ustraap) won the Perkins Technology Sidecar Prize as part of MassChallenge,
a Boston-based competition for entrepreneurs. Once a prototype of the band
was developed, Albertorio tapped Perkins Products Director Joe Martini to
recruit testers for the device who might use it in different ways.
“It hadn’t been tested with people who use guide dogs, individuals with low
vision, or people who are deafblind,” said Martini.
During testing, each user donned a SUNU band and practiced using the
vibration feedback to gauge distances, avoid obstacles and locate doorways.
In one exercise, Albertorio held a plastic tree branch out at eye level, and
asked testers to stop before walking into it. Perkins Products technology
specialist Joann Becker, who uses a cane to navigate, said walking into
stray branches is one of her biggest pet peeves. During the test, she strode
quickly toward the branch, but stopped just inches away from it.
“Wow,” she said. “I could feel that it was there all of a sudden. I knew if
I kept going, I would hit it.”
Perkins trainer Milissa Garside, another tester, wasn’t as worried about
hitting things at eye level. “I’m short, so I don’t run into a lot of that,”
she said, but like most people who tried SUNU, she had ideas for other uses.
“I would love to use this to locate a (traffic) light pole when I want to
press the ‘walk’ button,” she said. “This would be so helpful, you have no