Title: A proof-of-the-concept study on GuideTorch, an assistive device for the visually impaired

Authors: W.L. Xu, Y. Do

Addresses: Institute of Technology & Engineering, Massey University, Private Bag 102 904, North Shore Mail Centre, Auckland, New Zealand. ' School of Electronic Engineering, Daegu University, 15 Naeri, Jinryang, Gyeongsan-City, Gyeongbuk 712–714, Korea

Abstract: A new type of assistive device for the navigation of the Visually Impaired (VI) is proposed, which is based on a matrix of range sensors. The device is intended to be wearable for the ease of user interfacing and carrying. Geometric objects within a window of the frontal ground may be detected and identified. The walking instruction will then be provided according to the reconstructed ground. The device based on the above concept is called GuideTorch. In this paper, a proof-of-the-concept prototype is presented, where the sensor used is a pair consisting of a Light Emitting Diode (LED) and a Position Sensitive Device (PSD) to measure the range of an object in front. The device design and testing results are given. The algorithm to reconstruct ground objects sensed is presented. As the device is supposed to be placed at the chest, the walking gait is also considered in the design of GuideTorch.

Keywords: visually impaired; assistive devices; walking navigation; optical range sensors; wearable devices; object reconstruction; walking gait; visual impairment.

DOI: 10.1504/IJISTA.2007.014031

International Journal of Intelligent Systems Technologies and Applications, 2007 Vol.2 No.4, pp.357 - 369

Published online: 12 Jun 2007 *

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