researchers have seen their 'sound' ideas
win important successes this summer.
Dean Waters' 'batcane', inspired by the way
bats navigate in the dark, has won the 2002
Tomorrow's World Health Innovation Award for
its revolutionary way to help blind and visually
impaired people move around.
alarms based on 'locational sound', which
tells people where to find an exit, have been
endorsed by the American Council for the Blind,
which will campaign to make them mandatory
for all public buildings, aircraft and passenger
vehicles. The alarms are also being considered
for statutory use on passenger ships by the
International Maritime Organisation
batcane, under development by Sound Foresight
and Cambridge Consultants, should be on sale
by next summer. The cane uses ultrasonic echoes
which bounce off objects above, in front and
to the side of the user, feeding signals back
to enable the user to 'see' their immediate
sound alarms, being developed by SoundAlert,
use broadband sound, or white noise, the source
of which is easy for the human ear to locate.
In tests, the system was shown to be as effective
as the standard low-level lighting, but with
the advantage of not being obscured by smoke.