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PAST AND PRESENT TAER April 2004 Vance Lankford


To review history of ETAs, types, uses,
good and bad points. You could get this info. Red book, web sites, emails, But most MVS Bob Bryant got the award-Bob used these words to describe himself/ professional, energetic, integrity, intelligence, list goes on and on but this year I had to use these same words just to talk him into giving information and to borrow his ETAs.

Who is this man?

Bureau of Census 1994-95 Estimates vary

approximately 10 million blind and VI in US (AFB) Legally Blind 1.3 million Please dont make me define legally blind again Special ed served 93,600 10,800 Deaf/Blind Visually Impaired 260,000 LP 130,000 Totally Blind

55,200 legally blind

children 109,000 VI use long canes Just over 7,000 Americans use dog guides (1500 graduate annually) ETA use not presented in study

Travel aides have two components: senor and

display Senor: How it is mounted Display: How device presents spatial information to the traveler. Hearing or touch ETA emit energy waves to detect the environment within certain range or distance to present detected information to the traveler in an intelligible and useful manner


General Continued
Quoting Nora Griffin-Shirley and some other guys
ETAs devices that transform information about the environment that would normally be relayed through vision into a form that can be conveyed through another sensory modality. Ok until last part. Can you explain?

1. Russell- simply display
Purpose: path clear/ unclear Or Go-no-go system 2. Kay- ETAs to maximum amounts of information, Good travelers capable w/o ETA Bad traveler cant use them

In Past ETA mostly

secondary aids
Ultra Sonic Torch 1965
Professor Kay First Commercial Device First Device

Sonic Torch

Type I Devices
Single output for object
preview Go-no-go systems


1966 One of first commercially produced Vibratory 6 feet/ auditory beeping 32 inches Chest level,neck, wheelchairs Paved the way for future developments No Longer Available

Mo aat Mowat What?

Name: Geoff Mowat 1972 Ultrasonic cone Approximately size of a
human body Cone, not mowat Range 13.2 feet 3.3 feet switch Dependable, paved way, still used

Vibrates related to
distance from object Knee to overhead protection Cold, rain, heavy snow may cause false readings Pulse Date repair if locate parts X No Longer Available



1980s Nurion Industries Handheld/chest mounted Ultrasonic and sonar 4, 8, 16 feet Vibrotactile or audible 3 hours use Pilot Light, mini radar Italy seemed similar

Mirror like surfaces at close distances A redesigned Polaron should again be available by July 2004


Sensory 6
Ultrasonic Head mounted
spectacle Headphones provide sound info. Range 6.56 feet to 11.48 feet, metrics Closer object higher pitch
Objects in front both ears, side objects hear with the ear on that side. 8 hours Cosmetic, reduced regular feedback, head position important 1994 last production No Longer Available


Later 1993 Waist or handheld Audio or vibration U shaped beam rather than cone shaped 6 feet tall by 2.31 wide


outdoors The beam may vary six foot range Beep speed increases at 3 feet. No Longer Available


First Attempts at Mini-Guide not so successful


Tactile version more

popular, slightly larger Audio also, original Higher pitch of tone the closer Earphone socket provided Many settings, ranges Battery should last for many months Auto mode, but remembers modes

Have attached to cap or

glasses for upper use Number of accessories for instructors Feb.17, 2004 received Feb.16 almost 1000 sold Reflection, secondary aid


Hand Guide
Compact Fits well in hand 2 modes detects
objects sense of distance Audio mode Vibration mode 2 AA batteries

Pocket/belt clip Wrist strap/Durable Infrared sensors detect

4 feet


Type III Sonic Guide

Provide Object preview

Interpretation of tonal and in addition characteristics making environmental information primitive object Dr Kay Name again identification possible Sonic guide more like lots of practice How giving text rather than just many used Sonic head lines like type I Guide? devices Above head to knee 45 Distance Information Degree Cone Directional appreciation No Longer Available

Sonic Guide


Type IV Sonic Pathfinder

Object Preview and

artificial intelligence Computer controlled Wide beam sonic energy Head mounted Sonic energy translated into musical notes Sides one tone, in front other tones or ear Tone does affect hearing

Less training, Computer

simplifies meaning of sounds what we are about Secondary travel aide Displays only information which of practical interest not visual picture of world Tone changes each foot nearer an object


Sonic Pathfinder


The Voice Software translates arbitrary video
images from a regular PC Camera into Sounds: A Scene Reader Every visual shape gives a unique sound Building, trees, even color identification Like a talking camera Scan left to right/ pitch means elevation rising or falling visual pattern Loudness means brightness O/m help build better mental picture of environment


Canes or other devices

that are Primary Aids


Guide Cane
Robotic Dog Guide Ultrasonic sensors
detect objects, computer determines suitable direction and steers the Guide Cane and user around it Guides with no conscious effort

Project ended in 1998 No further work since

No Longer Available


Guide Cane


Guide Cane


Wheelchair Mobility Device Columbia Talking Compass- A compass that talks Included in information sheet Braille CompassesRover Light senor- light reflected off of sidewalk tell where edge, grass began


What happened to Type II

Multiple Outputs for object preview Still clear path Use of lasers/ go no go system
Wheelchair Pathfinder Laser Cane

Wheelchair Pathfinder
Nurion Industries Works with Chair or
Scooter Head protection 8 to 4 feet beeping Tone 1 foot side protection
Avoid or locate objects,
straight line travel Back up safety Some models signal drop offs low pitch 4 feet from drop


Wheelchair Pathfinder Unit


Wheel Chair Pathfinder


Laser Cane N-2000

It has a long history of

development Newest 3 beams At one point used two Head, straight, drops Estimate distances ahead and side Two AA batteries
Single hand operated Power off still used as a
regular cane Audible tones, can turn off sound vibrating stimulators under index finger Government study-most used ETA Laser cane web site. Primary travel tool



BAT K Sonar Torch-Cane

History Part 1950s Dr. Leslie Kay Training British Navy
Sound waves submerged objects First thoughts Underwater swimming for blind Then for handheld Sonic Torch

Studied Bats, along with

Dr. Griffin Torch primary aid KASPA (Kays Advanced Spatial Perception Aid) Sonic Guide mentioned compatible with cane


Cane vs. Torch

1966 Conference Training for Torch Unfortunately, initiative concoincided with

emergence of long white cane from America *Torch primary aid/Cane Cheaper Always follow the money 1969 Torch ceased production/commercial O/m could have been torch trainers, Torch too large for cane mounting at time


1978 well used in Japan Sonic guide was manufactured into 1990s Demise was purely commercial matter Cost, training, agency support The miniaturized low-cost Sonar Torch now becomes the K Sonar Cane Torch is handle



Sonar Cane

Standard Long Cane Clipped with Sonar torch Mimic Bats sonar Sonar echoes heard in headphones, recognizes textures KASPA lets brain discriminate between different objects All day battery, Narrow beam Long arm grip with cane/ Blash La Grow research oked grip like that Type III, like Sonic Guide

10 Times greater information

than other devices. 20 feet range 2M/5M rang Must learn new language of sound Claims cane tip and shaft just safety backstop for torch Turns on with head phone jack insertion 83 page manual 18 detailed lessons


Bat K Cane Handle






Ultra Cane Previous Batcane

Inspired by Bats
navigation at night Ultrasonic signal bouncing Covers front/head height of user Tactile feedback allows users to develop a mental map of area without effort

Tactile no beeping
Company feels this is a big plus/ No sounds to interfere with travel Available July 2004 At Wal-Marts everywhere X

Ultra Cane


How often do we use ETAs with our students?
Do we have students that could Benefit from an ETA.. No certification required at this time. Cost and addresses on hand out. Get address handout here.


Who is this?