A Treasure Hunt with Leti Smart

Contemplating the environment around us, being able to discern the sounds coming from it, allows us to understand and experience it fully.
Marco Fossati, teacher of physical education, specialist in technology for the blind and visually impaired I.Ri.Fo.R.

On a beautiful Sunday in May 2022, the Bologna Chapter of the Italian Union of the Blind and Partially Sighted presented the Leti Smart system to its members and the city. Being familiar with the system and having a collaborative friendship with Marino Attini, the system developer, we experienced, played and tested the Leti Smart system in our Treasure Hunt. The girls and boys who participated in the Autonomy Day organized by S.C.E. (Educational Counseling Service) of the Istituto F. Cavazza were able to play with this high technology device. The playful aspect of the experience immediately engaged all participants who took full advantage of the opportunity.


The group of participants to the Treasure Hunt - Istituto Cavazza, Bologna

As an educator in the blindness field, I had planned to test the Leti Smart system and assess its user-friendliness, simplicity, and readiness for use with the youth and in parallel to put the focus on the basic device of the long white cane and the Pocket device held by Marino Attini. The girls and boys amazed us with the speed with which they understood the possible actions and commands to operate the system. Even throughout the Treasure Hunt, it was well understood by the players of both teams how to manage and move along the path marked by the radio beacons. Even the understanding and ease of use resulted in thoroughly enjoyable experiences. My desire to focus on certain aspects related to sound discrimination was aimed at enabling blind and visually impaired youth to understand, value, and take full advantage of this sense. I consider the sense of hearing to be extremely charged with meaning at the time when we are able to interpret it to understand our surroundings. Even without getting to all the possibilities one has with echolocation, being able to decode the sounds from our environment allows us to understand it and eventually experience it fully.


During two Treasure Hunt practices, participants had to recognize, through prepared audio files, which sounds were played, keep track of them, and play them back. Outdoors they were asked to listen to, recognize, list and describe the sounds in the urban environment. Educators who supervised the youth were excellent, wonderful at facilitating acoustic discrimination experiences. During the simple and schematic explanation on the use of the Leti Smart system, they served as guides in a collaborative way. Like any self-respecting Treasure Hunt, the prize delighted our taste buds as it was an ice cream from a well known and excellent creamery on Via Castiglione. The national management of U.I.C.I. found the Leti Smart system definitely interesting and is promoting it as a model in several Italian cities. Definitely an excellent response to the independent mobility of persons living with vision loss. With this Treasure Hunt, we wanted to propose an educational methodology, certainly repeatable, to realize, structure and consolidate the skills needed to use this technology productively.


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