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A Pathway to Independence: wayfinding systems which adapt to a visually impaired person's context

Bradley, N.A. and Dunlop, M.D. (2003) A Pathway to Independence: wayfinding systems which adapt to a visually impaired person's context. In: Proceedings of IEEE Symposium on Assistive Technologies. AAATE, pp. 23-27.

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Abstract

Despite an increased amount of technologies and systems designed to address the navigational requirements of the visually impaired community of approximately 7.4 million in Europe, current research has failed to sufficiently address the human issues associated to their design and use. As more types of sensing technologies are developed to facilitate visually impaired travellers for different navigational purposes (local vs. distant and indoor vs. outdoor), an effective process of synchronisation is required. This synchronisation is represented through context-aware computing, which allows contextual information to not just be sensed (like most current wayfinding systems), but also adapted, discovered and augmented. In this paper, three user studies concerning the suitability of different types of navigational information for visually impaired and sighted people are described. For such systems to be effective, human cognitive maps, models and intentions need to be the focus of further research, in order to provide information that is tailored to a user's task, situation or environment. Methodologies aimed at establishing these issues need to be demonstrated through a multidisciplinary framework.