ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202207.0068.v1
Subject: Mathematics & Computer Science, Analysis Keywords: blind; visually impaired; assistive devices; object recognition; navigation; virtual assistants; Smart Cities; Saudi Arabia
Online: 5 July 2022 (08:24:38 CEST)
Visually impaired people encounter many impediments and challenges in their lives such as related to their mobility, education, communication, use of technology, and others. This paper reports the results of an online survey to understand the requirements and challenges blind and visually impaired people face in their daily lives regarding the availability and use of digital devices. The survey was conducted among the blind and visually impaired in Saudi Arabia using digital forms. A total of 164 people responded to the survey most of them using the VoiceOver function. People were asked about the use of smart devices, special devices, operating systems, object recognition apps, indoor and outdoor navigation apps, virtual digital assistive apps, the purpose (navigation, education, etc.) of and difficulty in using these apps, the type of assistance needed, the reliance on others in using the assistive technologies, and the level of satisfaction from the existing assistive technologies. The majority of the participants were 18 – 65 years old with 13% under 18 and 3% above 65. Sixty-five percent of the participants were graduates or postgraduates and the rest only had secondary education. White Cane, mobile phones, Apple iOS, Envision, Seeing AI, VoiceOver, and Google Maps were the most used devices, technologies, and apps used by the participants. Navigation at 39.6% was the most reported purpose of the special devices followed by education (34.1%) and office jobs (12.8%). The information from this survey along with a detailed literature review of academic and commercial technologies for the visually impaired was used to establish the research gap, design requirements, and a comprehensive understanding of the relevant landscape, which in turn was used to design smart glasses called LidSonic for visually impaired.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202208.0215.v1
Subject: Mathematics & Computer Science, Artificial Intelligence & Robotics Keywords: visually impaired; smart mobility; sensors; LiDAR; ultrasonic; deep learning; obstacle detection; obstacle recognition; assistive tools; edge computing; green computing; sustainability; Arduino Uno; Smart App
Online: 11 August 2022 (11:12:58 CEST)
Over a billion people around the world are disabled, among them, 253 million are visually impaired or blind, and this number is greatly increasing due to ageing, chronic diseases, poor environment, and health. Despite many proposals, the current devices and systems lack maturity and do not completely fulfill user requirements and satisfaction. Increased research activity in this field is required to encourage the development, commercialization, and widespread acceptance of low-cost and affordable assistive technologies for visual impairment and other disabilities. This paper proposes a novel approach using a LiDAR with a servo motor and an ultrasonic sensor to collect data and predict objects using deep learning for environment perception and navigation. We adopted this approach in a pair of smart glasses, called LidSonic V2.0, to enable the identification of obstacles for the visually impaired. The LidSonic system consists of an Arduino Uno edge computing device integrated into the smart glasses and a smartphone app that transmits data via Bluetooth. Arduino gathers data, operates the sensors on smart glasses, detects obstacles using simple data processing, and provides buzzer feedback to visually impaired users. The smartphone application collects data from Arduino, detects and classifies items in the spatial environment, and gives spoken feedback to the user on the detected objects. In comparison to image processing-based glasses, LidSonic uses far less processing time and energy to classify obstacles using simple LiDAR data, according to several integer measurements. We comprehensively describe the proposed system's hardware and software design, construct their prototype implementations, and test them in real-world environments. Using the open platforms, WEKA and TensorFlow, the entire LidSonic system is built with affordable off-the-shelf sensors and a microcontroller board costing less than $80. Essentially, we provide designs of an inexpensive, miniature, green device that can be built into, or mounted on, any pair of glasses or even a wheelchair to help the visually impaired. Our approach affords faster inference and decision-making using relatively low energy with smaller data sizes as well as faster communications for the edge, fog, and cloud computing.