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Navigation system for blind devised by UMass students

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Divya Reddy
Divya Reddy

BY A STAFF WRITER
AMHERST, MS — Can Blue Tooth technology help the blind navigate through their day?
At the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, computer systems engineering students Divya Reddy, an Indian American, and Krista Lohr have created such a navigation system for blind and visually impaired people.

Using Blue Tooth for indoors and GPS technology for outdoor navigation, their project gives voice directions to a destination input into the user’s smartphone.
“When you get to your destination, it will give you an alert to say when you are there,” said Lohr, 21, of Pittsfield.

Each destination will be read to the user using the smartphone and they can select among them, according to Reddy, 21, from Plainsboro, New Jersey.

First, a person can select the building one wants to get to, and then select a specific room inside. Reddy said among the choices was the women’s room at Marcus Hall.
“Right now it is only set up for the engineering quad, but we want to make it for the entire campus so you can get anywhere,” Lohr said.

In designing their project, both students said the weather was a factor, sometimes disrupting the GPS signal.
The senior project is a highlight of the UMass experience, Reddy said.
“We had to start out from scratch doing everything ourselves and that was an awesome feeling,” Lohr said.

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