When we talk about the visually impaired, the first image that comes to mind is probably the white cane (walking stick for the blind). In the near future, this image will be relegated to historical museums. A new age replacement is at hand: Touch & Go – an advanced navigation device for the blind.
With the white cane, a visually impaired person was limited to tapping the cane to get a sense of the surrounding and impending obstacles. They relied heavily on their auditory powers to map the surroundings. But not anymore!
The new Touch & Go by Natalia Ponomareva combines tactile visuals and auditory support to provide a clearer, concrete, and more accurate description of the environment. The touch and feel navigation device is designed to be worn on a hand, shoulder, or fastened to a belt.
This new age navigation device has two components: a sophisticated hand gadget and a Bluetooth earpiece. The ergonomically designed hand gadget sports a tactile display that displays the directions as a relief map. An arrow is used to indicate the direction in which the user needs to progress. The arrow always remains in the center of display making it easier for the user to map his or her location. Moreover, the Bluetooth earpiece provides additional auditory support.
Touch & Go is equally effective outdoors: on the streets, and indoors: inside an apartment. The device maps routes, and provides information of a building or an apartment.
Apart from this, there is one more feature that probably makes it one of the most intelligent devices out there. Suppose a visually impaired person walks into a room. A large chair blocks the path of the person. Touch & Go takes the picture of the object via a camera embedded on the hand gadget and displays it, alerting the user.
So how does one operate this navigation device? It surely must be complicated. Not at all! The user simply needs to communicate the destination point (outdoors) or the whereabouts (indoors) via the Bluetooth earpiece to receive the information. The information is relayed by GPS to the hand gadget.
A concern a user may have is what will happen if the device slips or falls from the hand. Touch & Go is designed to fit securely in your hand. Even if the user intends to strap it on their shoulder or attach it to the waist, the secure shoulder belt or holder clip will prevent the device from slipping.