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Disabil Rehabil Assist Technol. 2014 Sep;9(5):414-20. doi: 10.3109/17483107.2013.825929. Epub 2013 Nov 25.

Field testing of two electronic mobility aid devices for persons who are deaf-blind.

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  • 1Department of Rehabilitation, Université Laval , Québec , Canada .



To test a methodology for assessing the effects of electronic mobility aid devices (EMAD) on the mobility of persons who are deaf-blind in real-life situations.


A single-subject desing was done with four users followed in a program for persons who are deaf-blind. Participants were trained to use two commercial EMADs: the Miniguide and the Breeze. The Canadian Measure of Occupational Performance (CMOP) was administered before training (T1), after training (T2) and three months later (T3). The Quebec User Evaluation of Satisfaction with assistive Technology (QUEST) was administered at T2 and T3. A follow-up interview was conducted with the participants and clinicians at T3 to evaluate the benefits of the EMAD and any problems.


CMOP suggests that both performance and satisfaction improved following the use of both EMADs in four occupations (functional mobility, active leisure, community life and socialization). QUEST indicates high satisfaction with eight items except for one participant. Follow-up interviews revealed a wide variety of perceptions regarding EMAD use and seven problems although CMOP and QUEST indicated good satisfaction.


A high satisfaction score on QUEST does not necessarily imply that an assistive device is efficient in all circumstances; follow-up interviews provided important complementary information.


For people who are deaf-blind The Miniguide is reliable for detecting obstacles (vibrations are sent as a warning when approaching an obstacle). It is often used to know if taking the right route. It identifies entrances or openings (indicated by the vibrations stopping when pointing at a wall), which can replace the echo-location for blind persons with hearing impairments. The Miniguide helped to locate overhanging objects which are not detectable with a long cane. The Breeze can record landmarks for orientation and it possible to use those landmarks to go back alone later after taking a certain route for the first time with someone else. It helps to familiarize the person with new places. It can tell you where you are at any time. It helps with orientation and the participant also liked this feature because it helped with learning street names. The Miniguide and the Breeze were not efficient in all circumstances; there were some problems with the ergonomic (both), detecting snow banks (Miniguide), sensitiveness to the surroundings in crowded places (Miniguide) and exactitude for geo-localization (Breeze).


Assistive technology; blindness; hearing loss; low vision; obstacle detection; orientation; satisfaction

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