Eelke Folmer watches as student Dora Uchel demonstrates the Navatar system
When blind people are trying to navigate the city streets, they can get assistance from a speaking GPS-enabled smartphone, just like everyone else. Once they move indoors and lose access to the required satellite signals, however, it’s a different story. While there are some indoor navigation systems that require things like radio-frequency tags to be strategically placed around the building, it’s currently unrealistic to expect to find such systems installed in many places. The University of Nevada, Reno’s experimental new Navatar system, on the other hand, just requires a smartphone loaded up with a digital two-dimensional map of the building in question.