Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Physical World Connection For The Disabled

A research project by Carnegie Mellon shows how powerful connecting the physical world through a mobile device will be.

From The Tartan Disability -friendly devices

Trinetra technology has just been installed in Carnegie Mellon’s campus store, Entropy, to make it easier for blind people to go grocery shopping.

This assistive technology works as follows: Imagine a blind man walks into Entropy and wants to pick up a bottle of mustard. As he walks past one aisle to another, he uses a UPC-reading Baracoda pencil integrated with his phone to scan the barcodes on the shelves under the products he browses.

The Baracoda pencil contacts the UPC database through the Internet-enabled phone and identifies the product. The information returned to the phone is then read out by TALKS , software developed by Cingular that was installed in the phone.

“When shopping with a store assistant, it is nearly impossible to browse products. I ask for what I need, and they take me to that product, and that’s it. A device that can tell me what just about anything in the store actually is is incredible.” says Dan Rossi.

One of the unique features of Trinetra that sets it apart from other ongoing projects is that it leverages available infrastructure. The developers don’t have to pay for the barcode (UPC) database; it is already available on the Internet

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