Thomas Bridge 22 May 2015

High-tech headset unlocks city travel for visually impaired

High-tech headset unlocks city travel for visually impaired image

Revolutionary technology trials have allowed visually impaired people to travel on public transport using ‘3D soundscapes’.

Joint working between charity Guide Dogs, Microsoft and the Future Cities Catapult has led to development of a prototype headset that could ‘empower’ disabled people and support city visitors and drivers.

The Cities Unlocked project has developed a system whereby beacons transmit data to a headset and pinpoint the user’s location. A series of pips in changing patters and frequency help the user adjust direction while commentary provides information on nearby landmarks and places of interest.

It has now helped a visually impaired person to travel independently from their home in Reading to London Paddington station.

Support for the project has also come from businesses and researchers including Nokia Lumia, Arup, the University of Nottingham and the Bartlett Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis at University College London.

The Future Cities Catapult is now working with several public and private organisations to roll out larger networks of the beacons.

Jenny Cook, head of strategy and research, Guide Dogs, said: ‘By working with people who are living with sight loss and developing a deep understanding of the challenges they face, we’ve shown that the right technology can empower people.’

Claire Mookerjee, project lead urbanism at Future Cities Catapult, said: ‘We all find navigation challenging. For tourists, delivery drivers or any other visitor, this research is very relevant – there could be any number of products and services here that can help people and have commercial value.’

Meeting new planning requirements for trees image

Meeting new planning requirements for trees

Concrete block permeable paving offers an important opportunity to help satisfy the requirement for extensive tree planting and retention of existing trees in developments. Chris Hodson reports.
For your free daily news bulletin
Highways jobs

Senior Accountant x2

Islington London Borough Council
£39,462 - £45,594 per annum
There are two roles currently being advertised, one working with our Resources finance team, and one with our Housing and Public Health finance team. Islington, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Islington London Borough Council

Programme Director – Fisheries

Falkland Islands Government
£50,771 up to £56,292
The Programme Director – Fisheries will support the Director of Natural Resources Falkland Islands (FK)
Recuriter: Falkland Islands Government

Principal Engineer/Team Leader Street Works

Bath & North East Somerset Council
£39,880 - £42,821 pa
The Council’s Street Works Team is responsible for managing all aspects of road works and events that take place on our highway network. Keynsham, Bristol
Recuriter: Bath & North East Somerset Council

Social Worker / Advanced Practitioner – Children & Families Service

North Yorkshire County Council
£30,451 - £39,880 per annum pro rata + relocation support
North Yorkshire County Council have a national reputation for excellence. Skipton, North Yorkshire
Recuriter: North Yorkshire County Council

Senior Technician - Asset Management - Highways & Flood Risk

West Berkshire Council
£23,541 to £29,577 per annum (Grade G)
We are currently looking to recruit to two exciting opportunities who will join us and play a role in improving West Berkshire’s highways. Newbury, Berkshire
Recuriter: West Berkshire Council

Public Property

Latest issue - Public Property News

This issue of Public Property examines how how flexible workspaces can lead the way in regeneration for local authorities, Why local authority intervention is key to successful urban regeneration schemes and if the Government’s challenge of embracing beauty is an opportunity for communities.

The March issue also takes a closer look at Blackburn with Darwen Council's first digital health hub to help people gain control over health and care services.

Register for your free digital issue