Christchurch a world leader in accessibility
4 December 2009 Christchurch has become a world leader in accessibility for blind and vision impaired people with cutting-edge technology designed and built by one of its residents, Darryl Sherwood.
The SoundPost Orientation System was launched recently in the city’s Cultural Precinct with major support from the Christchurch City Council. Sixty base stations have been placed in key places (e.g. entranceways and pathways) throughout the Cultural Precinct.
Blind and vision impaired people with hand-held receivers the size of cellphones pick up infra-red signals and are directed to where they want to go within a distance of 30 metres.
Darryl, who is vision impaired, uses a white cane to keep himself safe and avoid obstacles, and a talking GPS system for getting to public places.
“Once you’ve arrived at a place, this new technology helps orientate you. It lets you know where things like the door, the rest rooms, the ticket counter, the escalators and the elevators are.”
For example, a taxi drops you off outside the Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetu or The Court Theatre. The SoundPost Orientation System will direct you to the entranceway and then, when you’re inside, to the information desk or box office.