Pub. date: 2010 | Online Pub. Date: December 16, 2009 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412972000 | Print ISBN: 9781412940818 | Online ISBN: 9781412972000| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Guidance Systems for Blind People
Jack M. Loomis
Human wayfinding involves two different functions: (1) maintaining orientation within the large-scale environment for the purpose of navigating to remote destinations, and (2) sensing of the immediate environment, including paths and obstacles, for the purpose of moving along desired routes. In connection with the training of wayfinding skills in blind people, these functions are referred to as orientation and mobility . Guidance systems have been developed to assist blind people with orientation and mobility. This entry describes a number of these guidance systems. Visually impaired people are at a disadvantage when it comes to wayfinding. For mobility, sensing of the near environment for obstacles and paths is effortful and error prone, even with a long cane and auditory cues such as sound reflections from surfaces. For orientation, especially within unfamiliar environments, blind people lack much of the information needed for planning routes to destinations, for taking detours while en route, ...