Helping the Blind and visually impaired.

Hello all I was wondering how hard it would be or what the projected cost would be to make a sort of guided tour system using an Arduino? We could record the tour and then have small self contained units people could carry around. We need something cheap and big companies charge hundreds of thousands to do this. We had played with the idea of making an old fashioned cassette tape enclosure and just recording the tour that way but we wanted to go a little better. I already have some 3.5mm headphone jacks with a built in switch and I think I can get the hardware part down. It's just loading the audio and the software that I am unsure of.

If all you want is talking then get cheap MP3 players. If you want talking only at specific places then you start needing intelligent device and wireless of some kind.

Downtown from me there are boxes on poles especially at traffic intersections that verbally instruct visually impaired people that they are at such a place and when the lights are right to cross. They are not loud but they are distinctive. Using sound cancelling techniques you can make a message audible in one place that won't be audible not so far away.

I can tell you that big corporations will play business games with small guys who try and move in on their sugar. You can easily find yourself screwed between influence and whipsaw ante-raising when they can't undercut you short term. It's amazing how many ways there are to get cheated and how much they will throw against you even over petty contracts, because once you're gone it's back to their overcharging BAU.

First thought is to record a series of short presentations on the hand-held bit and have some clever way to trigger them based on a proximity sensor. Can you do the audio storage and playback on the Arduino itself (with memory card) or does this need an MP3 player in each unit? Given that you'll want amplification, you might want to use something like [Sakura]]( for the MP3 part.

That still leaves you needing some sort of beacon system to trigger the right presentation. Perhaps you could just give the users 'next' and 'previous' buttons if the presentations are always going to be given in the same sequence.

Thanks for the suggestions and input. In my minds eye I envisioned walking at a slow and steady pace as most visitors do and recording enough info and taking enough time so that at a steady pace they presentation would just sort of seamlessly flow. I also wanted it to be activated by inputting the headphones so that the headphones activated a switch that triggered it to play. If people needed it to pause then they would just pull out the headphones and if the headphones were out more than say 5 min it would reset to the beginning, another idea we had was to sell these as self contained units to raise money for us to be able to have the ones to rent (being a non-profit in this economy is hard) so wanted some lithium ion batteries that could be put in and last a year or two but it would need to turn off after maybe 5 min and use no power maybe have the switch in the jack cut the power? I'm open to ideas and input.

Are you trying to help blind people get around or describe what things look like in a tour bus sort of way?

21 years ago I came up with a way to make a braille calculator/text reader that wouldn't use a lot of power but couldn't get interest going.