August 12, 2014

Low Vision Conferences Becoming High-Tech Accessible


Low Vision Conferences Becoming High-Tech Accessible

Organizations for the blind and visually impaired will soon be able to provide indoor navigation technology at their national conferences. The service, called “Audio Guide”, is being offered free gratis to charitable organizations by Macular Degeneration Support, with financial backing by Macular Degeneration Foundation.
Beginning in 2015, conference attendees will be able to more easily navigate meeting venues without depending upon sighted human guides. Location information will be transmitted by electronic beacons placed at registration tables, concession areas, exhibit areas, meeting rooms, restrooms, escalators, and elevators. An application specially-designed by will then identify the locations vocally through the user’s idevice or Android phone. The system will be customized to the specific services of the host organizations.
Audio Guide is modeled after a system being tested at the San Francisco International Airport. It will be the first time the new technology has been used at low vision conferences, which hundreds of people attend for educational and social purposes. MD Support Director Dan Roberts said, “Anybody with a cell phone will now be able to independently navigate these large and often-confusing venues. We hope Audio Guide will provide a safer and more enjoyable experience for all who attend.”
Several national organizations are already on board with the project, but opportunities are still available. For information about how to receive the free service, email Dan Roberts at .

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