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Bexley students win award for mapping aid for blind people

PUBLISHED: 07:00 13 July 2018

Mapping Aid for the Blind project team from Chislehurst and Sidcup Grammar with Matthew Craven from BAE Systems Rochester.  Picture: Ian Scammell

Mapping Aid for the Blind project team from Chislehurst and Sidcup Grammar with Matthew Craven from BAE Systems Rochester. Picture: Ian Scammell

ReachPLC

A mapping aid for the blind was the winning design idea dreamed up by a group of talented Bexley students.

The team has been rewarded for braving a dragons’ den at the Bright Spark Awards.

The young scientists are from Chislehurst and Sidcup Grammar.

They came up with the idea and then pitched the Mapping Aid for the Blind project to judges and were rewarded with a ‘money can’t buy’ experience prize donated by BAE Systems Rochester in a flight sim.

Kayleigh Tucker came up with the original idea. Her father is blind and uses a white stick when walking and she wanted to improve his quality of life.

She said: “We wanted to help him navigate new places that he’s never been before.”

The student explained an audio-based solution was vetoed as voice commands from a mobile phone could be difficult to hear in loud environments.

The team was also concerned users might be put off by using sounds in a public setting which could attract unwanted attention.

Instead the group created an attachment that could be fitted to a blind person’s walking stick. This unobtrusive device gives haptic feedback to direct users to a new destination.

The concept involves the use of Bluetooth connectivity paired with a smartphone.

The organisers of the competition said this project is a great achievement for the pupils who completed it over the course of a single lunchtime per week for six months.

They were among the top 12 teams to make it to the dragons’ den style final at Discovery Park in Sandwich in a bid for the champions’ trophy.

Finalists were filmed presenting their science projects and these videos were screened at the event before the students took to the stage.

The teams were quizzed by a panel including representatives from Astro Communications, Pfizer, BAE Systems Rochester, Discovery Park, Megger, Global Associates, Golding Vision, and Highways England.

Anyone wanting to enter next year should visit visit www.SchoolInspirationalServices.co.uk

Businesses interested in becoming a dragon in 2019 should contact Simon Dolby at sdolby@SchoolInspirationalServices.co.uk or call 0844 264 0292.

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