Robert Sweetman, Sweetman Systems President/Vision Impairment AT Specialist, Sweetman Systems
Disability Area: Topic Area:
Length of Session (in hours): 1
Expertise Level: All Levels
Type of session: General Conference
Summary of Session
Discussion on results & implication of pilot study conducted at Cal. State University Northridge: Exploring GPS Descriptive Wayfinding on the College Campus for Those with Low-vision and Blindness. Funded by the Ethel Louis Armstrong Foundation Endowment Assistive Technology Faculty-Student Award.
Navigating the campus of a large university can be a challenge for many students. Navigation is even more difficult for students who are blind or visually impaired, since they cannot read signage for streets and buildings, or visually locate important focal points on campus. GPS technology, when combined with map databases containing information about streets, pathways, and points of interest can provide this missing information. For this reason, research into implementation of GPS technology for the visually impaired and blind student on the campus was felt to be highly beneficial for both the students and to the University. Implementing a way-finding system that can address future universal design requirements would assist the University in meeting federal regulatory laws for accessibility, and it would allow the students in finding their way around campus. The rationale behind the project was to explore and describe the ways in which GPS technology can assist persons who are blind or visually impaired in navigation and successful destination management on the CSUN campus. This project examined the use of GPS technology combined with narrative descriptions to inform users of the important features of each point of interest, (POI), and to orient the student to the campus real time, (as they are traveling on campus).
Can persons who are blind or visually impaired use devices equipped with GPS technology and narrative descriptions to independently locate points of interest on the campus of a large university?
Can students who are blind or visually impaired independently locate outdoor destinations on the campus of a large university using narrated and text-based descriptive data that has been loaded onto portable devices equipped with GPS technolog
Can persons using this technology will be able to reach destinations without losing their way, thus reducing levels of anxiety and frustration when travelling on campus.
M.S. in Assistive Technology and Human Services, Tseng College, CSUN 2011, BA -Economics, Stanford University, 1975.J.D. UC Davis Law School, December 1980. Passed Bar exam in 1981.I currently work with my wife, Sue, and my son, David, in a small family-owned business, Sweetman Systems, (www.sweetmansystems.com) which has occupied most of my time since January of 2011. I developed an interest in Assistive Technology while working part-time at Stanford Research Institute and in 1981 began using computers with speech output to do my work.