It's been said that when someone loses one of their senses, the others become heightened. An innovative mind has taken this idea one step further, with the use of sensory perception and GPS technology.
Jason Perkins created Peepo after finding out that only 6% of guide dog owners venture out of their comfort zones, due to high anxiety in navigating new areas. Often these same owners will rely on friends to help them walk a route for the first time.
Peepo is a voice-activated GPS system for the blind, geared towards helping the guide dogs direct their owners, using a system of vibrations. Perkins developed this idea after speaking to members of the Cardiff Institute for the Blind. His objective was for blind people to be able to travel safely and confindently to a new destination, with the aid of their guide dog alone.
The Peepo design is comprised of 2 parts. A handheld, voice-enabled GPS device and a second device that attaches directly to the guide dogs harness, using vibrations to direct the owner which way they need to turn. When the person is travelling in the correct direction the center of the handle vibrates, and all zones vibrate when the final destination has been reached. This vibration feature is more parctical than a voice direction, for situations involving noisy streets or other background noises.
Perkins patented the device in the US, as it has a larger market than the UK, where he is currently studying Product Design in Wales.