From the Disney Parks blog...
Kathleen Prihoda said:Here at Disney Parks, we’re always looking for new ways to make attractions and experiences more accessible and enjoyable for everyone. Today, I got a sneak peek at a first-of-its-kind technology that will change the way some guests with disabilities experience Disney parks.
Disney engineers have plussed up their Assistive Technology Device to provide detailed descriptions of outdoor areas for visually impaired guests. Using an interactive audio menu, guests can choose the type of information they’d like to receive, from architectural elements to the location of the nearest restroom. It works using wireless technology to pinpoint its location and take pre-programmed actions. Best of all, it fits in the palm of your hand.
The Disney engineers I talked to reminded me that the device already combines many other features, including detailed audio description for more than 50 attractions; amplified audio for guests with mild to moderate hearing loss; handheld captioning that lets guests read captions while enjoying specific rides; and activation of closed captioning on television displays in pre-show areas.
Here's a sample:
Disney has already patented and licensed the technology for the handheld device, which could serve a wide variety of retail, commercial and industrial applications. And industry insiders and techies are already taking notice. The National Society of Professional Engineers just lauded the device as the new product of the year.
The Handheld Assistive Technology Device will be available starting June 27 for guests at Walt Disney World Resort and in 2011 in Disneyland Resort, for no additional cost.