[Art_beyond_sight_educators] maps, wayfinding, British museum

Lisa Yayla fnugg at online.no
Tue Dec 29 10:52:30 UTC 2009

links about maps at Perkins

BlindAid stylus
MIT’s Touch Lab has developed a device called the BlindAid system to 
enable the visually impaired to feel their way around a virtual model of 
a room or building. Mandayam Srinivasan, Director of the MIT Touch Lab 
and affiliated with the Research Laboratory of Electronics and the 
Department of Mechanical Engineering is working on this project with the 
Carroll Center for the Blind in Newton Massachusetts.....
In the long term, he believes the device could be used to help blind 
people not only preview public spaces but to also use the device to 
travel by public transportation by using virtual route maps and then be 
able to interact with the virtual map through touch.

Sparrows in the Station
Q. Every time I wait in the Long Island Rail Road 
section of Pennsylvania Station, I hear chirping, tweeting birds. The 
sound is louder near overhead speakers, so I’m assuming it’s a 
recording. Is it supposed to make passengers calmer, like Muzak?
A. You are hearing a “talking kiosk,” designed to help visually impaired 
passengers and others navigate the confusion of the station. The kiosk 
is in the Long Island Rail Road’s main concourse, between the entrances 
to Tracks 14 and 15.
“To help visually impaired customers locate the kiosk, it emits the song 
of the lark sparrow (Chondestes grammacus), a bird species native to the 
American West, that is found by audiologists to have a unique set of 
phonetic properties considered effective for directional way-finding,” 
said Susan McGowan, a spokeswoman for the railroad.
The current model was installed in December 2008, replacing an older one 
that also chirped. This one features a touch-activated tactile map of 
the station, visual displays for the partially sighted, and a voice 
designed for phonetic clarity, Ms. McGowan said in an e-mail message. As 
a customer touches different parts of the map, the kiosk describes the 
location and gives directions. It also offers general information about 
Penn Station and the Long Island Rail Road.
link to book excerpt
link to excerpt of book on Google Books
Access to mass transit for blind and visually impaired travelers
By Mark M. Uslan, American Foundation for the Blind, Alec F. Peck, 
William R. Wiener


excerpt of article
British Museum Launches Multimedia Guides in 11 Languages

*LONDON.-* A new set of handheld guides launches at the British Museum 
<http://www.britishmuseum.org>, designed to allow visitors to learn more 
about the British Museum’s collections. This includes:

• A Multimedia Guide available in 11 different languages, including 
British Sign Language (BSL)

• An Audio Description Guide (in English only)

• A Children’s Multimedia Guide (in English only)

With an international audience of six million visitors each year, the 
British Museum is always seeking to find new ways to engage visitors 
from around the world with the collection. The new Multimedia Guide, 
made possible by sponsorship from Korean Air, will be available in 
eleven languages (English, Korean, Arabic, French, German, Italian, 
Japanese, Mandarin, Russian, and Spanish, and a separate guide for 
British Sign Language) – the most comprehensive coverage of any museum 
multimedia guide. The guides will provide a state-of-the-art means for 
audiences to learn about the Museum’s unparalleled collection and make 
the most of their visit.

Taking in over 220 objects from the Museum’s collection, the Multimedia 
Guides will feature in-depth audio-visual commentaries. It will also 
include three guided tours to allow audiences different ways to explore 
the Museum’s collection: The Parthenon sculptures, Highlights of Ancient 
Egypt and The Korean Gallery. The tours will include directions to help 
the user find their way from one object to the next. The guide will also 
feature an interactive map to help visitors orient themselves and easily 
find objects and galleries.

The Children’s Guide (recommended for ages 5–11, in English only) will 
include seven guided micro-tours focusing on different parts of the 
world (ancient Egypt, ancient Greece and Rome, early Britain, Africa, 
Americas and Oceania, Asia, and Middle East), accompanied by activity 
suggestions and small interactive games around some of the objects.

The Audio Description Guide has in-depth descriptive audio commentaries 
of each of the 220 objects for visually impaired people (English only), 
while the British Sign Language Guide will launch with signed videos of 
about 120 objects. Videos will be added so as to include the full 220 
objects on the BSL Multimedia Guide by mid-January 2010.


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