Since I was a kid, I was very afraid of losing my eye vision. I really can’t image what my life would be. However, also because of this reason, I am always very interested in how to help visual impaired people to live their life. Recently in IDE(Innovation Design Engineering), I saw a video of an experiment made by an IDE student, Chin-Wei Liao. It’s an experiment about a person used a controller to send out a signal to a person who’s eyes are covered to walk on a specific route. In this video, their ultimate goal is to use Xbox Kinect to guide a visual impaired person. However, this video give me an inspiration, that in the future, with the more and more advance wireless internet all over the city, could we combined the camera(smart phone or google glass), internet and social network to provide a in time guiding for them to easily get to where they want to go.
In the future with the prevalence of 4G network, if there is a system which combined with now existing social network such as google, facebook or twitter, could allow a visual impaired person to simply press a button or speak to their devices, like google glasses or any smart phone, to post their request onto the internet and get connected with people who are interested in helping people, visiting the city and talking to others to exchange their experience or stories. That means he/she could have a in time and safe guiding. Also, there are always billions of people staying on line every minute, if there are 0.001% of them would click the request and that means there will be 10,000 people can get the help from the internet every single minute.
In this kind of communication, I bevlieve it will benefit both sides. On the side of visual impaired person, he/she could 1. get a safe guide which cant' be compared with any other means. Also, he/she could 2. have a "seeing" of the city or street with a whole new experience through the conversation and description about the view. The most important thing is that he/she could 3. communicate and have more emotional exchange with other people. On the other side, the person who is at the other end helping guiding could 1. also have a chance to see the place where he have never been to before. Further, he/she might also 2. use this opportunity to practice the language which he/she is learning at the meantime. Besides these, he/she could 3. have experience and stories exchange and feel content by helping people as well.
Could This Also Benefit And Being Attractive to Other Population?
1. New Approach of Social Network Website
In my imagination, this is a very natural way to communicate with a stranger on the internet, because there are so many things on the street you can talk about instead of trying too hard to get attention and good impressing which might at the end turn out in vain.
Try to image there is a person living in a big city and are going to somewhere or jogging. He/she press a button on the glass or smart phone and the information of your city, gender and language used(these three information only) plus a quick shot of the street will be post on the web page. If there is no one connected, you just keep walking to where you wanna go or jogging in the park by yourself. On the other hand, if the connection is established, you could naturally talk to this stranger because of the abundance of material for conversation. Moreover, if the conversation goes well, you might one step further exchange your personal information with she/he.
It is always hard for the beginning of a successful website, and from my perspective, one of the reasons is because it's very hard to get people spend like 3~5 minutes to set up an account with personal information. In other words, if you don't have to fill in any information at the very beginning and have already been able to use the main function of the website, this might increase the opportunity of people spending time on registering an account after they feel interested by the website and want to further attain more complete function, like create an ID, upload a picture or create a personal description. That's why I think it's better to show only three information of location, gender and language which could be attained automatically at the beginning by system. With this simple information needed, any one could directly use the website with google account( if this website is based under google system, and this google account could be used to keep the safety of both sides) and only if they want to or they don't have to spend time on register.
2. Getting Others Participate in The Process of Guiding and Helping Visual Impaired People
When the guiding between visual impaired person and the guide is established, the guide could choose to let other people join this process, but they could only listen and watch the conversation and the in time image, they won't be able to send out any audio or image information. However, what's the attractive part of this participation? For my understanding, they could 1. see a place where they have never been to, 2. They could listen to how people talk to each other and help others, 3. they might heard some real stories or experience from people live in a different culture or world, 4. They could practice listening ability of the language which they are learning at mean time.
We could use the ip camera within a wifi environment to establish a fast enough video connection to create a fast prototype. Connection through smart phone, 3G and server might be too slow and have 1~2 seconds delay which would be a bad idea for guiding a person who can't see the road. This fast Prototype could let us collect some user experience and problems for further adjustment and design. Besides this tangible prototype, we also need to establish a website for users to view and choose to establish the connection. This part is what I am not familiar with and looking for the chance and environment to learn.