Today Jeff and Raqi are joined in the studio by Brandon Biggs, inclusive designer and Engineer with The Smith-Kettlewell Eye Research Institute (SKI), the foremost organization for vision research in the U. s. Brandon is involved in three major projects at SKI, including the development of the Cam IO app, which allows blind and visually impaired individuals to digitally annotate and navigate objects, such as appliances, iNavigate, an indoor way-finding app, and Audiom, an audio variation of Maps. In this podcast, Brandon will focus on Audiom.
Brandon shares his journey to Smith-Kettlewell by way of his educational path, which traversed not only the U. S., but to Italy, Malta, The Netherlands and Canada as well. He also describes the similarities and differences in the ways those countries approach their disabled communities with accessibility efforts, many of which are more focused on Blindness initiatives, but are behind the U. S. in other areas.
Brandon intends to advance his career in app development and data management as a scientist at Smith-Kettlewell, and will relocate to Georgia Tech University, in Atlanta, Ga. to pursue his PhD.
The Audiom project is one which involves use of maps, to plot out the geographical layout of cities and buildings, and to convert that data into an audio format for use by visually impaired users. Audiom uses real world sounds to depict points of data for users, such as dishes clattering for restaurants, or beeps for ATM machines. Audiom also uses traditional conventions such as first person and list view from Video games like Swamp or Heroes Call which are quickly spatially conveyed into useful navigational information for blind users. Stay tuned down the road as this project promises to evolve into a helpful means for mapping geographical data into a usable tool for the Blind.
Be sure to set aside a few minutes to hear this fascinating guest speak of his passion for his work and its future impact on the lives of the Blind and Visually Impaired around the World.
You can find out more about the Audiom project, as well as iNavigate and Cam IO on Smith-Kettlewell’s website,:.
And, while they are not yet beta testing, if you are interested in helping test the Audiom app, send an email to
Audiom@SKI.Org, You will be notified when they are ready for Beta testers.
Contact Your State Services
If you reside in Minnesota, and you would like to know more about Transition Services from State Services contact Transition Coordinator Sheila Koenig by email or contact her via phone at 651-539-2361.
Check out the Blind Abilities Communityon Facebook, the Blind Abilities Page, and the Career Resources for the Blind and Visually Impaired group