A Look at Current Assistive GPS Hardware and Software Products

Published November 11, 2020

Assistive global position system (GPS) hardware and software products are designed to enable people with visual disability to navigate a location. The GPS hardware devices may include features such as providing route directions or alerting the user to obstructions in the path by using ultrasound.

Assistive GPS software programs usually run on multiple devices. The programs may be designed to offer route directions through Braille, text, or speech. Some packages may include additional features, such as data on speed, altitude, GPS coordinates, and information on areas of interest.

Hardware products

Kapten Plus GPS

This innovative personal navigation device can enable people with visual disabilities to identify their direction and location at any given point. It is designed to ensure the user knows exactly where they are headed. The device can also be used to plot routes to a particular address.
It comes with an MP3 player, an FM radio, and a memo recorder. A port for headphones is provided. The user can give voice commands or press 3D marked keys. The battery can run for up to 12 hours using voice navigation.

MiniGuide

The MiniGuide is a portable travel device that makes use of ultrasound-based echo-location technology to detect objects or hurdles in its vicinity. The sound or tactile feedback becomes more rapid as the object gets nearer. The auditory feedback can also be received using headsets.
Persons with visual disability can avoid obstructions, locate landmarks, and find a trash can or a mailbox using this device along with a cane or guide dog. The MiniGuide can help the person navigate paths in a crowded area. It comes with five default ranges and has large button controls.

Software products

BrailleNote GPS

This GPS software program can run on electronic notetaker devices such as VoiceNote and BrailleNote. With the help of its "virtual explore" feature, the user can understand the road layout when visiting a new area or create automatic routes for walking as well as riding in an automobile. The software will also provide inputs on the direction, speed and altitude and compute the distance to a location.

Mobile Geo

This GPS software program runs on Windows powered cell phones. It is designed to help a user identify their exact location, obtain information about POIs (points of interest) in close proximity, and plan a route of choice between the point of origin and the point of destination. The program also provides guidance on the maneuvers that the user must make at certain points along a route. A Mobile Speak screen reader is necessary to run this program.

Wayfinder Access

This GPS software program works with a GPS received and a cell phone. Its user-friendly interface is designed to let the user navigate new or unfamiliar areas. Using a screen reader and pre-recorded prompts, the user can choose and explore the POIs in immediate vicinity.
The user can select pedestrian, taxi, or car routes and save specific destinations of choice. The innovative "Where am I" feature can ensure that the user will never get lost. Wayfinder Access also provides inputs on street crossings, favorite destinations as well as coordinates, altitude, and speed.

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