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Germans unleash electronic guide dog

GPS-enabled iPAQ helps blind

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German company Papermeier has introduced an electronic "guide dog" for the blind called Trekker which uses GPS to navigate.

Trekker is a PDA with a route map and GPS receiver which calls out its current location: "You are at 6 Leopold-Ahrends-Strasse", for example.

The company stresses that the PDA is not a replacement or a substitute for a cane or a guide dog. With its 10m accuracy it won't be able to avoid major obstacles, for instance. What's more, current GPS route maps can't offer such detail.

Neither is the Trekker the first such aid for the visually impaired. Recently, an invention called VoiceNote GPS attracted a lot of publicity. This device comes with 5GB hard drive and costs around $2000.

The Trekker, however, runs on a regular GPS-enabled Compaq IPAQ and comes with a 64MB flash card. The company's website (in German only) doesn't yet mention a price. ®

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