HumanWare’s Trekker Breeze offers unprecedented mobility to visually impaired
Montreal (Canada), July 21, 2008 HumanWare’s handheld talking GPS units
are empowering the blind to lead more active, independent lifestyles—and
even to embark on some extraordinary adventures.
Trekker Breeze units have recently accompanied blind users on hikes up Mount
Kilimanjaro and across the US, as well as on horseback excursions. The
talking GPS units are user-friendly, handheld devices that announce names of streets,
intersections and landmarks in
five different languages. Users can record custom landmarks along their
route and get step-by-step spoken travel instructions.
South Africa’s Geoff Hilton-Barber, a blind man and avid Trekker Breeze
user, recently tested the unit in high-altitude conditions on a group hike
up Mount Kilimanjaro. He used it as a supplement to their sighted guide, allowing him to
independently track his progress in terms of altitude and distance at all
times. “It stood the test of the dust, wind and extreme cold,” he said.
Hilton-Barber regularly slings his Trekker Breeze around his neck when he
goes horseback riding. “There have been times when I have been in the lead
or my guide has been a little inattentive and I have gone under low trees,
struck a telephone pole with my shoulder, or simply been unaware of a sharp
turn or ditch in my way. By inserting landmarks ten metres in advance of
these obstacles I receive a reliable warning in time to take action,” he
For Hilton-Barber, the Trekker Breeze shines just as bright in everyday
situations, allowing him to easily navigate around university campuses and
his farm, or give directions to taxi drivers in areas of cities that neither
is familiar with. “I am constantly surprised at the accuracy of the Breeze
often as close as one metre when walking to a landmark! I have used my
Trekker Breeze nearly every day for the past six months and don’t leave the
house without it,” he says.
Hilton-Barber isn’t the only visually impaired person getting adventurous
with a Trekker Breeze. Colorado’s Mike Shaak aims to be the first blind person to make the 5,800-mile trek across the US. He’s currently on the road, with a Trekker Breeze as his guide.
“We’re thrilled to see how the Trekker Breeze is helping blind people become
more independent. However, given that some 80% of the visually impaired are
unemployed, we hope that insurance bodies will offer enhanced subsidies for
such assistance devices to those who cannot afford them. Society as a whole
benefits when people living with vision loss can get around easily without
having to depend on others,” said Gilles Pepin, HumanWare’s CEO.
HumanWare www.humanware.com is the global leader in assistive technologies
for the print disabled. It creates products for people who are blind, have
low vision and/or have learning disabilities. The innovative range of HumanWare products includes
BrailleNote, the leading productivity device for the blind in education and business, as well as for personal use; the Victor Reader line, the world’s leading digital audiobook players; and SmartView Xtend, the first fully
modular and upgradeable CCTV-based video magnifier.
For more information:
HumanWare Tel: +1 (450) 463-1717, ext. 341