News Article

STAR Analytical Services Receives Grant from AcoustiMap
Date: Jan 02, 2012
Source: ( click here to go to the source)

Featured firm in this article: Speech Technology & Applied Research Corp of Bedford, MA

innovative navigation assistance device for the blind
. The system, called AcoustiMap, will consist of three
components -- an auditory "display" that places sound sourc
es in three dimensions around the user; a Global
Positioning System (GPS) unit with a map database; and
a Dead Reckoning Module -- to provide precise location
and orientation for the user. All three components use pro
ven, commercial products.
Users will be able to listen to existing audio "landmar
ks" -- or place their own waypoints. This device will be
first to implement such an auditory "augmented reality" f
or the blind, says STAR Principal Investigator Dr. And
W. Howitt. "Researchers have experimented for many years
with auditory displays as information conduits for blind
users. But the ability to synthesize virtual audio land
marks and combine them with real audio landmarks -- say a
stop -- stands to give sight-disabled persons unprecedented c
ontrol and understanding of their auditory landscape."
Both blind and sighted users have found the auditory display m
ore effective and easier to use than either tactile-
feedback (haptic) displays or voice directions. The aw
ard is made under NIH's Small Business Innovation Resear
(SBIR) program. SBIR supports research and development of
products and services by small business concerns
which show strong potential for commercialization. For
further information on NIH's research program at the
National Eye Institute, see