How Technology Is Helping the Blind Navigate the Physical World

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Developers of assistive technologies for the blind are commandeering increasingly cheap and ubiquitous personal gadgets for their research aims. Just a decade ago, the options were an array of expensive, cumbersome specialty equipment. Now the blind rely on devices that are preexisting, affordable, and often already integrated into daily life.

Universal Design (UD) is an approach to design that increases the potential for developing a better quality of life for a wide range of individuals. It is a design process that enables and empowers a diverse population by improving human performance, health and wellness, and social participation (Steinfeld and Maisel, 2012). It creates products, systems, and environments to be as usable as possible by as many people as possible regardless of age, ability or situation.