What is a Miniguide?
A Miniguide is a small, portable device designed to assist individuals who are visually impaired in navigating their surroundings. Mini-guides are often lightweight, compact, and easy to carry, making them ideal for use in a variety of environments, including busy public spaces, unfamiliar locations, and even in the home. They can be especially helpful for individuals who are new to using a cane or who have difficulty using a traditional long cane, as they offer a more discreet and convenient solution for navigating the world around them.
These devices typically use a combination of audio cues and vibrations to help users navigate and locate objects or obstacles. Some mini-guides may also incorporate GPS technology and other features, such as voice commands, to enhance their functionality and make them even more useful for people who are blind or have low vision. It is a secondary mobility aid that can be used in conjunction with a primary mobility aid, such as a long cane or a Guide Dog.
What is the Miniguide useful for?
- Locating doorways and gaps
- Determining if lift doors are open
- Navigating around tables, chairs and office environments
- Detecting overhanging branches
- Locating bus, tram or taxi bays
- Detecting idling vehicles at road crossings
- Detecting parked cars, poles and street furniture
- Detecting if a taxi is at a taxi rank and determining if it is a maxi taxi or regular taxi.
How do I use a Miniguide?
The Miniguide is held in the opposite hand to the primary mobility aid (for example: long cane or Guide Dog harness).
It can be held facing different directions depending on the environment. For example, you may hold it towards the wall if you are searching for an open doorway. When the button towards the top of the Miniguide is pressed, it emits an ultrasonic beam. If an object is located, the Miniguide vibrates and increases vibration intensity the closer the object is. If there is no object, the Miniguide does not emit a vibration.
The Miniguide can be set to different ranges depending on the environment, including eight metres, four metres, two metres, one metre and half a metre. The device can be used both indoors and outdoors.
The Miniguide is battery operated and has approximately 100 hours of use.
Orientation and Mobility (O&M) Specialists are qualified to provide training for the Miniguide to ensure safe and effective use.