[Loadstone] FW: [vip_students] Fw: Free satnav developed for the blind.

LaMcAs lamcas17 at tiscali.co.uk
Fri Nov 21 21:54:21 GMT 2008

Well what do you think of this?


Has anyone else come across this article?


Larry & Elliot GD


----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Derek Hornby" <derek.hornby_uk at btopenworld.com>
To: <access-uk at freelists.org>
Sent: Sunday, November 16, 2008 5:14 PM
Subject: [access-uk] Free satnav developed for the blind.

Hi All
The following appeared in The Sunday Times 16 November 2008

Free satnav developed for the blind.
By Mark Macaskill

A BLIND man has developed a free satellite navigation system for the
visually impaired that can guide them around any city in Britain by
giving them instructions on their mobile phone, writes Mark

The technology, similar to that used by in-car satnav devices, can be
used to locate buildings, bus stops, tube stations, cashpoints and
taxi ranks as well as navigating streets.

Monty Lilburn, 33, from Glasgow, who is blind, created the mapping
software as an alternative to conventional GPS devices.

His system, Loadstone, can be downloaded free of charge from the
internet and has won plaudits from Nokia, the mobile phone company,
and the Royal National Institute for the Blind (RNIB).

Blind and partially sighted people are able to navigate by wearing a
GPS transmitter, roughly the size of a matchbox, which pinpoints
their position and communicates with the mobile phone via Bluetooth
radio technology.

When the co-ordinates or postcode of the desired destination are
entered, the phone "speaks" directions to the user.Instructions are
> >> given, including the distance needed to travel before taking a turn,
and a series of beeps indicates when the destination has been reached.

The system uses information from sources such as Traveline, a
partnership of transport operators and local authorities, which
provided GPS co-ordinates for every bus stop, tube station and ferry
terminal in Britain.

However, the software will not replace a guide dog or a white stick,
because it is unable to detect obstacles.

The system, which is used in conjunction with the new generation of
digital phone, is expected to become hugely popular.

There are 2m people in Britain who are visually impaired and some 37m

Lilburn's invention will be officially unveiled in Edinburgh next
week as part of an international technology seminar.

"It gives people much greater freedom and best of all it's relatively
inexpensive," says Lilburn. "When you're in a taxi, for example, you
can be confident that you're being taken on the shortest route."

Alison Long, of the RNIB, said: "This software goes a long way to
providing some people with the independence they so desperately want.
The fact that it's been developed by blind people for blind people
makes it particularly special."

Mark Palmer, a consultant with User Vision, an Edinburgh-based IT
consultancy, which will showcase Lilburn's technology, said: "This
has the potential to change a blind person's life."


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