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Indoor/Outdoor Blind Navigation and Awareness System for Blind Students

Principal researcher

Name: Dr. Sumin Helal

Contact details: Mobile and Pervasive Computing Laboratory, Rooms E451-447, Computer Science & Engineering Building, P.O. Box 116120, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida 32611-6120, USA.
Tel: +1 352 392 6845
Fax: +1 352 392 1220
Email: helal@cise.ufl.edu

Website: www.icta.ufl.edu/index.htm

Project details

Start date: 15/08/2004
End date: 31/07/2007

Description: A navigation and location determination system for the blind is designed based on an RFID tag grid. Each RFID tag is programmed upon installation with spatial coordinates and information describing the surroundings. This allows for a selfdescribing, localized information system with no dependency on a centralized database or wireless infrastructure for communications. The system could be integrated into building code requirements as part of ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) at a cost of less than $1 per square foot. With an established RFID grid infrastructure blind students will gain the freedom to explore and participate in activities without external assistance. An established RFID grid infrastructure will also enable advances in robotics which will benefit from knowing precise location. In this paper, we present an RFID-based information grid system with an RFID reader integrated into the user's shoe and walking cane with a Bluetooth connection to the user's cell phone. To assist in navigation, user feedback and communication via a NAVCOM belt worn around the user's waste is introduced that features a sonic range finder and a series of pager motors for distance feedback and a form of vibrational Braille. An emphasis is placed on the architecture and design allowing for a truly integrated pervasive environment with minimal visual indicators of the system to the outside observer.

Other organisations involved in this project

Funded by The National Science Foundation.

Last updated: 20/03/2010