//MUKANA (the Finnish for “aboard”, “along”) is a project of the University of Art and Design Helsinki in collaboration with the Technical Research Center of Finland and the Finnish Federation of the Visually Impaired. The system combines smart clothing, a cell phone, a wireless headset, a GPS module and voice recognition software, all to allow people an ease of navigation:
The system takes account of the special needs of the visually impaired. Users can ask //MUKANA to tell them their location, to give information on what route to take to their destination or on the timetables of public transportation.
With //MUKANA, people can use the phone and operate the guide system with the help of a Bluetooth® enabled wireless headset and an integrated 10-key Braille number pad for the visually impaired. Extra batteries are included to guarantee the long-term functioning of the system and the cell phone. There is a pocket where the headset can be charged and stored, as well as a pocket for keys and a wallet. The Braille keypad is located in front of the garment, rotated 90 degrees from the normal position to support ergonomic hand movement.
//MUKANA is made of materials, which have special sensory qualities. It is designed to appeal to the visually impaired. Neoprene®, a very durable and flexible material has been used for the structure of the garment. Water resistance has been secured with a special coating, glued seams, and water repellent zips. The outer seams are finished with reflective piping and the keypad is covered with reflective material to enhance the security of the design.