Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Cube That Helps Blind Feel Magic of Theatre; Robotic Device Acts as Guide to Performances

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Cube That Helps Blind Feel Magic of Theatre; Robotic Device Acts as Guide to Performances

Article excerpt

Byline: Rachael Sigee and Simon Neville

A LONDON theatre company has helped develop a cutting-edge robotic "cube" to transform theatre experiences for blind people and could pave the way for an alternative to guide dogs and canes in everyday life.

The hand-held device communicates with users through their sense of touch, by turning and shifting in their hand to guide them around locations, acting like a compass.

Extant, the UK's only professional performing arts company of visually impaired artists, has worked with professors from Yale and the Open University to devise a prototype which is now at the research stages. It is using the gadget to navigate audiences through performances of its new show in total darkness.

Extant hopes there is potential for the technology to be used outdoors so that visually impaired people can determine their locations using GPS. Founder and chief executive Maria Oshodi said: "This technology has so much potential to help the millions of people who are visually impaired. …

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