Researchers invent a mobile guide for the blind

Jul 12, 2013
The University of Alicante invents a mobile guide for the blind
Mobile guide for the blind.

A research group at the University of Alicante has developed an application for smart phones designed for the blind to overcome aerial obstacles such as branches or awnings, which cannot be done with guide dogs or walking sticks. This software has been awarded a prize by the Vodafone Foundation.

The application, which emerged from the project Detección de Obstáculos Aéreos -DOA (Aerial Obstacle Detection), has been developed by the University of Alicante's Research Group "Mobile Vision Research Lab", directed by Miguel Ángel Lozano Ortega, Juan Manuel Sáez Martínez and Francisco Escolano Ruiz. The firm Neosistec has also participated in its development.

The system uses a some to detect the proximity of obstacles in the way of the user. It has a friendly interface, which can be noticed by or sound of upcoming obstacle. The notice becomes more frequent as it approaches the obstacle. The software is integrated into a smart phone, which is comfortable and unobtrusive to the user. This technology has been protected by a patent.

This application is comfortable and unobtrusive to the user and easy to use. It is used as a complement -not substitute- for walking sticks or guide dogs, but solving their main limitations: the inability to detect aerial obstacles since dogs cannot be trained to be aware of the difference in height between themselves and the human being they are guiding.

The invention is able to warn of obstacles by (through the phone speaker, not through ) or vibrations, making the system even more discreet, since only the user perceives the information and does not deprive him or her of hearing, the blind's primary sense.

Among the devices eligible to be used, we find the so called "3D phones", equipped with dual front camera, and any mobile phone with a single camera that incorporates a system to obtain two environmental observations separately. The application also leverages data from some common sensors in them, such as a magnetometer and a accelerometer.

The creators of this system point out that this technology is extremely innovative in the world of mobile phones, since they not were able to take real measures on the environment so far, while this application extracts around 30,000 measurements per frame, at a rate of 9 frames per second.

This technology has been awarded a prize by the Vodafone Foundation in the seventh edition of its innovative awards, in the category Mobile for Good Apps.

Explore further: Phone camera app with audio cues clicks with blind

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Phone camera app with audio cues clicks with blind

May 13, 2013

(Phys.org) —Picture-taking is not a comfortable subject for those with vision impairments or who are blind. Having a resume-type photo for an online bio page or sharing a photo of a trip with friends are ...

Hold the phone for vital signs

Oct 06, 2011

An iPhone app that measures the user's heart rate is not only a popular feature with consumers, but it sparked an idea for a Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) researcher who is now turning smart phones, ...

Kyocera releases smartphones for easy listening

May 17, 2012

(Phys.org) -- "Can you hear me? You’re dying? Oh, you're drying. Are you talking into your phone?" While smartphones continue with noisy attempts to deliver stunning visuals and entertaining apps, the fu ...

Recommended for you

Microsoft expands ad-free Bing search for schools

17 hours ago

Microsoft is expanding a program that gives schools the ability to prevent ads from appearing in search results when they use its Bing search engine. The program, launched in a pilot program earlier this year, is now available ...

Growing app industry has developers racing to keep up

Apr 20, 2014

Smartphone application developers say they are challenged by the glut of apps as well as the need to update their software to keep up with evolving phone technology, making creative pricing strategies essential to finding ...

Android gains in US, basic phones almost extinct

Apr 18, 2014

The Google Android platform grabbed the majority of mobile phones in the US market in early 2014, as consumers all but abandoned non-smartphone handsets, a survey showed Friday.

Hackathon team's GoogolPlex gives Siri extra powers

Apr 17, 2014

(Phys.org) —Four freshmen at the University of Pennsylvania have taken Apple's personal assistant Siri to behave as a graduate-level executive assistant which, when asked, is capable of adjusting the temperature ...

Microsoft CEO is driving data-culture mindset

Apr 16, 2014

(Phys.org) —Microsoft's future strategy: is all about leveraging data, from different sources, coming together using one cohesive Microsoft architecture. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella on Tuesday, both in ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

US urged to drop India WTO case on solar

Environmentalists Wednesday urged the United States to drop plans to haul India to the WTO to open its solar market, saying the action would hurt the fight against climate change.