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Talking Tactile Map - Simplicity is key to a tactile map’s success. Excessively complex maps are useless as they are impossible to read, ovely simplifed maps are easier to read but the sparse information limits their usefulness. Tactile maps have always suffered from this trade-off between legibility and information quality.

The Talking Tactile Map improves both the clarity and quality of the information.
Talking Tactile Map - The shape of the map is an extremely version of the actual space, yet represents it completely. The building’s subtleties are omitted, sacrificed to conserve clarity. The tactile language employed is composed from a minimal vocabulary. Intuition acts as the translator.
Using the Map - Corridors are indicated by channels whereas exits and entrances are indicated by ramps.
The ‘You Are Here’ indicator is described by a large stainless steel ball.
Its distinctive form and feel alerts the user to the fact that they have encountered a special object.

When the map is touched, the person hears a spoken description of the organisation that is located at that point. The longer the person leaves their finger there,
the more information they will receive about that place.
Wayfinding with a camera phone - The Smart Camera, is sensitive to two dimensional data matrices called
QR (Quick Response) codes. These black and white icons contain digital information that is instantly decoded the moment that the camera recognises them.
Smart Camera prototype - Each QR Code contains a URL web address. This URL directs an attached mobile phone to retrieve the information stored there.
This information is stored digitally and could be communicated in a variety of different ways,
visually, aurally or haptically. The Smart Camera communicated it as spoken information.
Smart Camera prototype - This camera prototype was designed to be worn on the front of the person. It fixes onto the strap of a shoulder bag, which contains a video transmitter and a Bluetooth audio receiver.
The camera body itself, hung from an arrangement of bearings, ensuring that it remained upright, no matter what orientation of the person
Smart Camera - Optical methods aren’t just limited to the recognition of black and white data matrices. Our world is beginning to be visually recorded through tools such as Google Street View, Flickr and Photosynth. By taking a snap shot of our environment and comparing it with the images in these databases, computer vision software can calculate where the person is and hence access the wayfinding information relevant to that site.
RFID Torch prototype - Using RFID tags as geographical markers, devices such as this RFID Torch can have location awareness. Each tag will trigger the Torch to speak the information which describes that location. Walking away from that location ceases the description.
RFID Torch - The torch has a Bluetooth link to a mobile phone for web access.
Information relating to each tag can be accessed and spoken according to the user's preferences.

As NFC (Near Field Communication) technology becomes a standard feature on most phones,
there will soon be no need for the external torch.
Pathfinder - A mobile application that acts as a user interface to the information cloud that surrounds public spaces. This tool is a set of intelligent filters that allow only the most relevant wayfinding and content information pass through. Each user initially sets their preferences of where their preferred information originates and how they would prefer that information to be conveyed to them, visually, aurally, haptically, etc.
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Wayfinding for Visually Impaired People
David Sweeney
Industrial Designer London, United Kingdom