This project is a collaboration with Not Impossible Labs.
Justin Bishop is a tremendously skilled skateboarder who lives with retinitis pigmentosa. Since age 8 he has progressively lost vision, and by age 18 had to give up his love of skateboarding due to near total blindness. After a couple years though he picked up his board and got back on.
The goal of this project is to push Justin's skating to a higher level through technological solutions. If we are able to help Justin, we can help many other visually impaired people to discover or rediscover skateboarding. It is likely that solutions to this problem can help out with visually impaired navigation in other venues, so there's a huge potential here to help a LOT of people.
My approach to solving this problem is to create acoustical navigation markers in a skate park. Justin already uses this technique with a very simple tool popular with many visually impaired athletes, the 'beeper box.' In the current phase of the project I have built a phased array beeper box that produces a much more focused beam of sound. This will allow Justin to use multiple acoustical land markers simultaneously, and realize a precision in positioning not possible with an omnidirectional beeper.
The distant goal of this project is to create a virtualized set of markers allowing Justin to create and deploy as many acoustical locators as desired. Think acoustical augmented reality.