Blind captain hopes to kayak solo across the Bosphorus

Ahmet Ustunel is preparing to cross the Bosphorus Strait in a kayak. Ustunel is completely blind and he is hoping that the technology he is developing to help him make this trip will make a difference to others who are blind. e.

Lack of vision no barrier to achieving a childhood dream

Ustunel is totally blind but he is determined to cross the Bosphorus Strait from Europe to Asia using just a kayak and a prototype course keeper and GPS system, known as Mr Beep.

A teacher from Turkey, Ustunel moved to the United States in 2006, where he taught blind and vision impaired kids in San Francisco. But he never forgot his lifelong dream.

Ustunel spent his childhood by the sea and had a fishing boat he loved. His father would help him steer it with verbal instructions and he hoped to row a boat himself. Building a boat costs money so he turned his attention to kayaks.

A kayak is a canoe made of a light frame with a watertight covering having a small opening in the top to sit in.

Mr. Beep, a course keeper initially designed to help blind rowers, has changed things for Ustunel. He got together with a designer and a group of engineers to see what changes he could make.

Ustunel uses his smartphone alongside the prototype, but he will add GPS and navigation features to Mr. Beep early next year. He also hopes to develop Mr. Beep into a complete navigation system that will provide other blind and visually impaired people with more freedom than ever before.

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