Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Bloomberg TV News reports on Blind Driver Challenge

Bloomberg TV's Sheila Dharmarajan reports on the Blind Driver Challenge, a vehicle prototype that allows blind people to drive. The automobile's robotics technology, created by Dennis Hong, a professor at Virginia Tech, is designed with various sensors that signal the visually impaired to command the vehicle. Mark Riccobono, executive director of the National Federation of the Blind, also talks about the importance of equality and "taking control of the car if I need to." Video courtesy of Bloomberg News.

Also check out Bloomberg's video report on Dennis Hong's Robotics and Mechanisms Laboratory.

Photo of Mark Riccobono and Dennis Hong by Steven Mackay.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

7 Tech Breakthroughs That Empower People With Disabilities

The Blind Driver Challenge makes No. 3 on this list of new tech made to help those with disabilities. Writer Kelly Shaver focuses on Virginia Tech Associate Professor Dennis Hong and the future spin-off technologies of the BDC...

Text by Kelly Shaver

Adaptive technology is a fairly new term, but the basic idea is not. Some adaptive devices are simple, like the cane, which has a history as old as mankind itself. Others seem to come more from the realm of science fiction.

However mundane or complicated, all are a testament to human determination, creativity and ambition. Here, we look at seven high-tech assistive devices and how they’re helping those with disabilities lead full and fulfilling lives.


Image above courtesy TED2011.

Take the Blind Driver Challenge at festival, by 'Daily Times'

KIPTOPEKE -- Visitors to the 2011 Harvest Festival are invited to take the Blind Driver Challenge at the Eastern Shore Center for Independent Living tent.

Software developed at Virginia Tech to enable blind people to drive will be on display in a simulated driving module.

The Blind Driver Challenge evolved as a result of blind people who felt they had established independence in various arenas of their lives but did not have the luxury nor the privilege to drive, especially after having conquered so many obstacles that were deemed impossible for the blind.

The National Federation of the Blind, which seeks to improve the lives of blind people by advocacy and the pursuit of advancing technology, partnered with Virginia Tech to develop software and interfacing that would enable a blind person to operate a motor vehicle.