Talking Signs, Windchimes

Finding the way around is one of the greatest challenges people with impaired vision face. It’s often called navigation, as though we are ships negotiating tricky rocks in a fog. The parallel is quite a good one, and like ships we can call on technology to help us.

On the campus of The Open University in the UK there are Talking Signs. You need a special device (a fob) that will trigger a sign when you come near it, so you will hear recorded directions. A similar system but on a larger scale operates in the centre of Birmingham UK. Here’s an example given on the Wayfinder website.

“This is unit number 27 in Victoria Square at the top of Pinfold Street by the Post Office. Down the slope to your left is New Street and city centre shopping. Going up the slope to your right is the approach to the Town Hall, Council House, Chamberlain Square and Central Library”.

These are relatively high tech and you do need to have a fob. Some university campuses  have installed a simpler aid – wind chimes. These are less informative of course, and do depend on their being some wind, but it’s a low-cost approach, and requires no special device other than ears. And it has a graceful charm.




About partialinsight

One evening I had a stroke. Half my sight vanished overnight. Adapting made me grasp how amazing the visual system and brain are. It also taught me to understand disability completely differently and I'm grateful for the lesson.
This entry was posted in 101 experiments in seeing, Assistive technology, Blindness and visual impairment and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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