Preprint Article Version 1 This version is not peer-reviewed

Low-Cost Open Source Ultrasound-Sensing Based Navigational Support for Visually Impaired

Version 1 : Received: 8 July 2019 / Approved: 10 July 2019 / Online: 10 July 2019 (06:24:05 CEST)

How to cite: Petsiuk, A.L.; M. Pearce , J.. Low-Cost Open Source Ultrasound-Sensing Based Navigational Support for Visually Impaired. Preprints 2019, 2019070138 (doi: 10.20944/preprints201907.0138.v1). Petsiuk, A.L.; M. Pearce , J.. Low-Cost Open Source Ultrasound-Sensing Based Navigational Support for Visually Impaired. Preprints 2019, 2019070138 (doi: 10.20944/preprints201907.0138.v1).

Abstract

Nineteen million Americans have significant vision loss. Over 70% of these are not employed full-time, and more than a quarter live below the poverty line. Globally, there are 36 million blind people, but less than half use white canes or more costly commercial sensory substitutions. The quality of life for visually impaired people is hampered by the resultant lack of independence. To help alleviate these challenges this study reports on the development of a low-cost (<$24), open-source navigational support system to allow people with the lost vision to navigate, orient themselves in their surroundings and avoid obstacles when moving. The system can be largely made with digitally distributed manufacturing using low-cost 3-D printing/milling. It conveys point-distance information by utilizing the natural active sensing approach and modulates measurements into haptic feedback with various vibration patterns within the distance range of 3 m. The developed system allows people with lost vision to solve the primary tasks of navigation, orientation, and obstacle detection (>20 cm stationary, moving up to 0.5 m/s) to ensure their safety and mobility. Sighted blindfolded participants successfully demonstrated the device for eight primary everyday navigation and guidance tasks including indoor and outdoor navigation and avoiding collisions with other pedestrians.

Subject Areas

3D printing; additive manufacturing; assistive devices; blind; obstacle avoidance; sensors; sensory substitution; ultrasonic sensing; ultrasound sensing; visually impaired

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