Many people view GPS and similar emerging interior-wayfnding technologies as a way to 'solve the blind wayfnding challenge.'...Architects still need to be better multisensory placemakers to design and create effective environments for the blind and visually impaired. — Dwell
Chris Downey, whose story as a blind practicing architect was recently documented in the AIA's "Look Up" campaign this past May, dishes in on his own experiences with embossing printers, wayfinding devices, and graphic input tools, and other emerging technologies that have the potential to vastly...
Enter Cities Unlocked, a project intended to help people with sight loss navigate cities. The brainchild of a blind Microsoft employee, it uses GPS, a 3D audio headset, and Bluetooth beacons, among other technologies. [...]
“I’m a blind person, I need to keep my ears open,” she says. The headset uses bone-conducting technology, in which vibrations create a “3D soundscape” around the user. — nextcity.org
The absence of these rules can frustrate the newly sighted, whose visual world can be both blurry and two-dimensional—paintings and people are often described as “flat, with dark patches”; a far-away house is “nearby, but requiring the taking of a lot of steps”; streetlights seen through glass are “luminous stains stuck to the window”; sunbeams through tree branches collapse into a single “tree with all the lights in it. — New Yorker
Downey needed something tactile to work with, and he found it in a kids' toy. Spread out before him on the table are stacks of embossed plans ... marked up with brightly colored wax sticks. [...]
The sticks warm to the touch and bend easily; they can make precise angles, and—crucially for Downey—their tackiness makes them stick to paper. "Once I realized that, I thought, 'Oh, I could use that to draw on top of an embossed drawing.'" Suddenly, he had a way not just to read, but to make. — sf.curbed.com
After Chris Downey, of Piedmont, lost his sight, rather than change careers, he stayed with architecture. Now, with the help of a white cane and drawings that have raised figures, Downey plans buildings for the blind. -- SF Gate
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