Inventors imagine new way to navigate campus

BY ARIKIA MILLIKAN

Published December 8, 2006

Finding your way from the Michigan Union to the Dennison Building is a very different experience if you're blind. It's doable, but it's not easy.

Mike Hulsebus
University researchers Jim Knox (left) and Scott Gifford (right) demonstrate their new technology that helps blind people get around easily. (ANGELA CESERE/Daily)

"Basically, you've got a blind person at point A who needs to get to point B," said Jim Knox, a coordinator for the University's Information Technology Division. "There are a variety of ways to get there, like taking a bus or navigating with a cane, but what they miss is the journey."

To illuminate that journey for the blind, Knox helped develope TalkingPoints, which would allow them to hear what others are able to see.

Knox and his co-workers hope to wire South University Avenue so that when a blind person walks down the street, a device attached to a headset will announce landmarks - like a stop sign, a fire hydrant or Rendez-Vous Caf