History of Project


A major impetus for the project was the loss of sight in 1984 by one of us (Reg Golledge), a geographer specializing in the areas of human spatial cognition, behavioral geography (research relating to urban activity and transportation), and Geographic Information Systems. Another of us (Jack Loomis), a psychologist specializing in perception with side interests in computing and displays, came up with the idea in 1985 of a navigation system for the visual impaired and approached Golledge and others at UCSB about the idea. The result of the initial discussions was the formation of a research group, the core of which consisted of the Loomis, Golledge, and Bobby Klatzky. Klatzky, then a professor at UCSB, brought to the project her expertise in memory, cognitive processes, and haptic perception. From the beginning, the primary goal of the group has been to do basic research on spatial perception and spatial cognition relevant to understanding navigation by the visually impaired and to the development of an effective navigation system.