Project R-1312

Title

3D video based navigation aids for visually impaired.

Abstract

This research aims to develop new navigation aids for the blind, so their mobility and independence, and their quality of life will be increased. The tools we want to develop are based on the principle of sensory substitution. This means that the characteristics for one sense can be simulated by stimuli in another sense. More specifically it is possible to allow certain observations, which are normally associated with vision (failure to blind), with the presentation of appropriate auditory and tactile stimuli.The reason for this is that parts of the cerebral cortex processes visual stimuli for the normally sighted, which are covered with the blind by the processing of auditory and tactile input. Examples of such visual sensory substitution based tools for the blind are the VOICE, a helmet equipped with camera and headset that translates the camera images into a sound signal , and systems that translate camera images into patterns on a dynamic Braille display that blind people wear on their head or arm. Concrete wewant to develop similar navigational aids based on the 3D video. 3D video is video enhanced with depth information. In the recent past EDM, in the context of BOF, EU and IBBT projects, carried out extensive research into 3D video including computer animation, digital film post production and video mail. 3D image and video processing is possible in real time, with depth information of sufficiently high quality to apply to visual sensory substitution. The objectives of the study are: - To find transformations of image-with-depth to the combination of sound and tactile stimuli - making 3D video recording and processing algorithms faster and more robust - Development of a prototype portable navigation system based on the above. - Verifying the applicability of augmented reality techniques. The research will be validated by utility measurements with blind people, relying on the expertise of usability measurements in the human-machine interaction research at EDM. One seeks cooperation with experts in the field of neuroscience, observation psychology and the development of electronic systems to bring this investigation to a successful outcome.

Period of project

01 January 2008 - 31 December 2013