Safe navigation for visually impaired persons

Sep 09, 2013
Safe Navigation for Visually Impaired Persons
The research group wants to provide a smartphone software solution making it easier for visually impaired persons to orientate themselves. Credit: Angela Constantinescu/Daniel Koester, KIT

Blind and visually impaired persons find it very difficult to move about in unknown environments. The white canes used by them are still the preferred tools for orientation. The project "A Mobility and Navigational Aid for Visually Impaired Persons" wants to help visually impaired persons to orient themselves in new environments by means of computer-aided vision. For development of a smartphone software solution, the research group around Professor Rainer Stiefelhagen at Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) is awarded the US$ 83,000 Google Faculty Research Award.

By means of a camera and mobile computer or smartphone, the system will recognize obstacles, evaluate the respective data in real time and transfer them to the user. In addition to identifying obstacles, the camera is intended to detect, for example, signals of or find the way to the entrance of a building. The will transmit such data by means of acoustic and haptic signals e.g., speech, alerts and warning signals or vibration. The technique will be implemented in a for smartphones because these are widely used and easy to operate by blind persons. Popular smartphone software already includes options for screen content read-out by means of voice response and touch screen operation by blind persons through special gestures. It is also due to an ever-increasing that smartphones are ideal for the intended system.

In the medium term, first prototypes will be manufactured to be tested beforehand by visually impaired persons on the campus of KIT. Such on-campus testing is enabled by cooperating closely with KIT's Study Center for Visually Impaired Students (Studienzentrum für Sehgeschädigte – SZS) that supports visually impaired students during their studies and investigates new technical solutions for supporting blind and visually impaired persons. "We want our system to adapt to the particular demands of the prospective users already during its development," explains Professor Rainer Stiefelhagen who holds the chair of "Computer Systems for Visually Impaired Students" and is both head of the above study center and of a study group on "Computer Vision for Human-Computer Interaction".

Explore further: A spray-on light show on four wheels: Darkside Scientific

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

'Sighted' wheelchair tested

May 17, 2011

Research on an electric wheelchair that can sense it's environment and transmit information to a person who is visually impaired, has been tested at Lulea University of Technology, Sweden. Daniel Innala Ahlmark, ...

Smartphones a big help to visually impaired

May 16, 2012

iPhones and other smartphones can be a huge help to the visually impaired, but few vision doctors are recommending them to patients, according to a study co-authored by a Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine ...

New device puts vision impaired in the picture

Apr 28, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- Visually impaired people may soon have greater access to graphical information thanks to a new device developed by Monash University’s Faculty of Information and Technology.

Recommended for you

A spray-on light show on four wheels: Darkside Scientific

Sep 14, 2014

Darkside Scientific recently drew a lot of gazes its way in its video release of a car treated to the company's electroluminescent paint called LumiLor. Electroluminescence (EL) is a characteristic of a material ...

Research project on accident-avoiding vehicle concluded

Sep 12, 2014

PRORETA 3 is completed after three and a half years of research work: The comprehensive driver assistance and automated maneuver concept supports the driver in keeping the vehicle in a safe driving corridor- ...

Making drones more customizable

Sep 12, 2014

A first-ever standard "operating system" for drones, developed by a startup with MIT roots, could soon help manufacturers easily design and customize unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) for multiple applications.

User comments : 0