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Talking Navigator Photo of people walking in large enclosed space

Talking Navigator®

Speech guidance between locations on campus using standard laptop computers and GPS’s.

RL & Associates, Inc.’s new Talking Navigator® system assists blind and visually impaired people navigate campuses.

The Talking Navigator system calculates routes between predefined locations on individual campuses. Talking Navigator works with a user’s laptop computer and a GPS (Global Positioning System) receiver to monitor the user’s location and provide realtime instructions for walking a given route. The program communicates by using voice recognition and text-to-speech and is not dependent on any particular screen reader software. It is not intended to replace other assistive tools such as a guide dog or cane.

The system includes three modules:
A Field Module used to navigate the campus.
The Field Module enables the user to select a starting point (a predefined location) and a destination, and provides real-time instructions for navigating to the destination. Based on the user’s preference settings, these instructions might include the direction of travel, distance to the next waypoint, upcoming intermediate waypoints (buildings other than the destination, intersections that do not require a turn, and so on), and which direction to turn at intersections. If a user has designated “favorite” locations, the program will offer the option to list only favorites or all campus locations.

If the user makes a mistake and fails to follow the correct route, the software issues a warning and provides instructions correcting the error and getting back on course. To assist the user in orienting him or herself, the software is able to identify one or more nearby waypoints, routes, or intersections, including the distance and bearing to those locations.

A Customization Module used to set up user preferences.
The Customization Module enables the user to customize the data and behavior of the programs to suit his or her personal preferences. These options will include:

  • Selecting “favorite” locations to facilitate selecting starting points and destinations in the field. For example, a student might designate as favorites the buildings in which he or she currently has classes, the library, the Student Union, the gate nearest the bus stop, and so on.
  • Designating “favorite” routes, which will be pre-calculated and stored to facilitate easy retrieval
  • Customizing the amount of information spoken by the software in the field to match the user’s familiarity with the software and the campus. For example, users might choose whether to be reminded of intermediate waypoints between turns, whether to hear the distance to the next waypoint, how far before a turn to be prompted, and so on.

A Utility Module used to pre-calculate routes and perform database repair and maintenance operations.

The program includes a database of campus locations (buildings, entrances, bus stops, intersections with public streets, and so on) and the accessible routes that connect these locations. The data will be stored in a Microsoft Access database. The data is drawn from already compiled waypoints and maps that include primary and auxiliary routes and all of the locations that users need to find. The program provides tools for entering the necessary data to describe these locations into the database. The programmers participate in beta testing on campus with both sighted and blind testers. Campus personnel help users install the software on their laptops and train them in its use.

Talking Navigator works with a user’s laptop computer and a GPS (Global Positioning System) receiver to monitor the user’s location and provide realtime instructions for walking a given route.

Contact us today by email or toll-free 866-339-1180

Talking Navigator®:

  • Calculates shortest routes
  • Calculates distance to destinations
  • Gives voice directions
  • Customized for pedestrians
  • Detailed location data for campus or neighborhood
  • Works with text-to-speech and keypad interface

Download the Talking Navigator brochure here (PDF, 900k).



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