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ITKAN Monthly Meeting – June 2016


Tactile Maps and Technology for Addressing Vision Loss


One of the greatest challenges people with disabilities encounter is to travel independently and to learn to cope with architectural and other barriers. One of the most important skills for blind and low vision travelers especially is to form a concept of their surroundings, to develop a sense of their own orientation in space. Advanced planning is essential for any excursion an independent blind person takes, and there are few ways available to prepare for travel to an unfamiliar place. Tactile maps can be used in interior spaces to allow blind or low vision individuals to navigate internal spaces and gain understanding of the routes needed to move freely and independently.

Join us at the MTC June 9th as Ralph Samek, founder of Woodlake Technologies, discusses tactile maps and other technologies to address vision loss. Ralph will present options for way finding for blind and low vision people. Wayfinding refers to how people orient and navigate through an area or a space.  We will discuss two way finding solutions: tactile maps and iBeacons which convey information through touch, sound, or both. Tactile maps are made to represent outdoor walking routes, campus areas, indoor floor plan layouts, fire exits etc. Tactile maps can include audio and braille components. The iBeacon utilizes BLE technology to provide accurate, real time, location specific messages based its proximity to a local network of iBeacons to a smart phone equipped with an appropriate app.

Ralph Samek is the founder of Woodlake Technologies, an assistive technology company providing solutions for low-vision or blindness, limited dexterity, hearing challenged, and communication challenged people. Ralph has an eye for innovation, and is passionately devoted to ensuring that his clients are matched with the best adaptive technology available through appropriate assessment/evaluation and training services.  Some of Woodlake Technologies clients include the US Department of Defense, City of Chicago, State of Illinois, and the Veterans Administration.

The next meeting will be
June 9, 2016, 5-7PM
Aon Tower
Microsoft Technology Center, 2nd Floor
200 E. Randolph St
Chicago, IL 60601