Bourbakis - Sensing Surrounding 3-D Space for Navigation of...

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Sensing Surrounding 3-D Space for Navigation of the Blind The number of blind and visually impaired individuals in the USA is esti- mated to be more than six million. –N. Bourbakis D uring the last decades, several research efforts have been directed toward providing better accessibility and navigation to blind individu- als in their living environment by developing new devices and infor- mation technology scientific methodologies [1]–[15]. However, there is still a need to overcome navigation barriers encountered by individuals who are blind. Until these barriers are eliminated, the blind and visually impaired individuals will continue to be underrepresented. The analytical abilities of people with visual disabilities should not be disregarded, since there is no evi- dence that this population does not possess the same range of abilities as the rest of the population. On the other hand, the lack of opportunities to develop and use those abilities will certainly limit their employment advancement. A range of adaptive technologies and devices has evolved since the 1960s to assist people who are blind in dealing with a variety of situations. The primary drawbacks included inconsistencies in feedback depending on various conditions (such as weather), possible disorientation caused by overuse of the sound space, and the fact that the information such devices provided was redundant to what the individuals could discern on their own in a more efficient manner using a cane or guide dog. The main drawbacks of existing assistive devices are the cumbersome hardware, the level of technical expertise required to operate the devices, and the lack of portability. These technological advances do not facilitate unobtrusive indoor navigation and learning from the environment. This limits employment and social opportunities for blind and visually impaired individuals. In summary, these technological advances target specific functional deficits but largely neglect social aspects and do not provide an integrated, multifunctional, transparent, and extensible solution that addresses the variety of challenges (such as independ- ence) encountered in lives of blind people everyday. This article presents a two-dimensional (2-D) vibration array for detecting dynamic changes in three-dimensional (3-D) space during navigation and pro- vides these changes in real time to visually impaired users (in a form of vibration) to develop a 3-D sensing of the space and assist their navigation in their working and living environment. This vibration array is a part of the Tyflos prototype device (consisting of two tiny cameras, a microphone, an ear speaker mounted into a pair of dark glasses and connected into a portable PC) for blind individuals. The overall idea is of detecting changes in a 3-D space is based on fusing range
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This note was uploaded on 11/02/2009 for the course CH 302 taught by Professor Holcombe during the Spring '07 term at University of Texas.

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Bourbakis - Sensing Surrounding 3-D Space for Navigation of...

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