Document details

Blind guide: anytime, anywhere

Author(s): Yánez, Daniel Augusto Vera

Date: 2017

Persistent ID: http://hdl.handle.net/10400.8/2833

Origin: IC-online

Subject(s): Internet of things; IoT; Mobile technology; Ambient assisted living; Ultrasound; Blind; Domínio/Área Científica::Engenharia e Tecnologia::Engenharia Eletrotécnica, Eletrónica e Informática; Domínio/Área Científica::Engenharia e Tecnologia::Engenharia Eletrotécnica, Eletrónica e Informática; Domínio/Área Científica::Engenharia e Tecnologia::Engenharia Eletrotécnica, Eletrónica e Informática


Description

Sight dominates our mental life, more than any other sense. Even when we are just thinking about something the world, we end imagining what looks like. This rich visual experience is part of our lives. People need the vision for two complementary reasons. One of them is vision give us the knowledge to recognize objects in real time. The other reason is vision provides us the control one need to move around and interact with objects. Eyesight helps people to avoid dangers and navigate in our world. Blind people usually have enhanced accuracy and sensibility of their other natural senses to sense their surroundings. But sometimes this is not enough because the human senses can be affected by external sources of noise or disease. Without any foreign aid or device, sightless cannot navigate in the world. Many assistive tools have been developed to help blind people. White canes or guide dogs help blind in their navigation. Each device has their limitation. White canes cannot detect head level obstacles, drop-offs, and obstructions over a meter away. The training of a guide dog takes a long time, almost five years in some cases. The sightless also needs training and is not a solution for everybody. Taking care of a guide dog can be expensive and time consuming. Humans have developed technology for helping us in every aspect of our lives. The primary goal of technology is helping people to improve their quality of life. Technology can assist us with our limitations. Wireless sensor networks is a technology that has been used to help people with disabilities. In this dissertation, the author proposes a system based on this technology called Blind Guide. Blind Guide is an artifact that helps blind people to navigate in indoors or outdoors scenarios. The prototype is portable assuring that can be used anytime and anywhere. The system is composed of wireless sensors that can be used in different parts of the body. The sensors detect an obstacle and inform the user with an audible warning providing a safety walk to the users. A great feature about Blind Guide is its modularity. The system can adapt to the needs of the user and can be used in a combination with other solution. For example, Blind Guide can be used in conjunction with the white cane. The white cane detects obstacles below waist level and a Blind Guide wireless sensor in the forehead can detect obstacles at the head level. This feature is important because some sightless people feel uncomfortable without the white cane. The system is scalable giving us the opportunity to create a network of interconnected Blind Guide users. This network can store the exact location and description of the obstacles found by the users. This information is public for all users of this system. This feature reduces the time required for obstacle detection and consequent energy savings, thus increasing the autonomy of the solution. One of the main requirements for the development of this prototype was to design a low-cost solution that can be accessible for anyone around the world. All the components of the solution can provide a low-cost solution, easily obtainable and at a low cost. Technology makes our life easier and it must be available for anyone. Modularity, portability, scalability, the possibility to work in conjunction with other solutions, detecting objects that other solutions cannot, obstacle labeling, a network of identified obstacles and audible warnings are the main aspects of the Blind Guide system. All these aspects makes Blind Guide an anytime, anywhere solution for blind people. Blind Guide was tested with a group of volunteers. The volunteers were sightless and from different ages. The trials performed to the system show us positive results. The system successfully detected incoming obstacles and informed in real time to its users. The volunteers gave us a positive feedback telling that they felt comfortable using the prototype and they believe that the system can help them with their daily routine.

Document Type Master thesis
Language English
Advisor(s) Pereira, António Manuel de Jesus; Marcillo, Diego
Contributor(s) Yánez, Daniel Augusto Vera
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