News Article

The Port Macquarie News has been very kind in allowing us to include their news article on our web site. The article appeared in May 2003. A text only version of the article is below.

Image of newspaper article about the Miniguide

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The following is the text from the Port Macquarie News article:

Nancy's moving on a high-tech course


THERE'S no stopping Nancy Ward now.

The 82-year-old vision impaired Port Macquarie resident has mastered a new device that has increased her confidence.

And there are other benefits too - there's no chance of her husband getting away from her now.

"He rides a scooter so I walk behind him and use the miniguide," Mrs Ward said with a smile.

"I point it on him so when he gets a bit too fast I know and tell him to come back."

Miniguides are the latest battery-operated electronic travel aid for vision-impaired people.

The small hand-held device emits an ultrasonic sound, measures the time it takes for the echo to return and then processes the reflected sound waves through hearing or vibrations.

They have become an attractive secondary mobility aid.

Given their versatility, ease of use, portability and accuracy when it comes to obstacles in a person's path of travel, it's easy to understand their popularity.

The audio and tactile Miniguides were researched, developed and self-funded by Greg Phillips of GDP (Research,) South Australia.

They can be tailored to suit each user and have several settings depending on the environment in which they are being used.

The benefit of the Miniguide is that it is unobtrusive, light, easy to learn to use and can be programmed to suit a client's needs.

It provides information about the environment that might not be available with a cane, guide dog or other aid.

Mrs Ward was so impressed with the device she offered a donation to the association to give others the chance of benefiting from it.

"When people zoom across in front of me now I am able to stop, wait until it's clear then keep going," she said.

"It's so easy to operate and hold. Try carrying a cane, a bag and an umbrella - it's not easy."

Orientation and mobility instructor Rita Langler of the Guide Dog Association helps clients master the Miniguide through one-on-one sessions.

Based in Coffs Harbour, Mrs Langler also travels to Taree, Tweed Heads and as far inland as Moree. She said: "It's about improving their safety. The safer they feel, the more confident they grow and their fluency improves."

Miniguide: why you want one

A miniguide can help by:

End of article.