A new sonic device developed in New Zealand is being hailed as a major technical aid for blind people.
GV Building: National Guide Dog Training Centre
SV Prof. Leslie Kay; blind centre official and blind man
CU Glasses fitted with detector device (3 shots)
CU Control at waist
SV Blind man walking round poles (using device)
SV Other blind man walking round obstacles
SV People watch
SV Blind man walking round obstacles
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Background: A new sonic device developed in New Zealand is being hailed as a major technical aid for blind people. It was shown publicly for the first time at a seminar convened by the Royal Guide Dogs for the Blind'Association of Australia at its training centre in Melbourne.
Professor Leslie Kay -- who headed the research team at the University of Canterbury in. Christchurch -- flew to Australia to demonstrate his invention.
The device taps the usually good hearing of blind people and is built into spectacle frames. A blind person can sense objects around him by ultra-sonic waves, varying u to four times the highest audible frequency -- twenty-thousand cycles per second. The energy is reflected back from objects to disc transducers, acting as receivers. An electronic control box converts the ultra-sonic echoes into audible signals, aiding the blind person toe manoeuvre around obstacles in his path.
Professor Kay says blind people can become more aware of their surroundings after twenty-hours instruction. A user can not only gauge the distance of an object, but also recognise its shape and texture. At reset it is anticipated that only people between the age of 15 and 55 can be trained successfully.