The main aim of this project is to develop a system capable of interpreting and managing real world information from different sources to assist blind or visually impaired users. The system would present the user with enhanced image and audio maps of their surrounding to meaningfully improve the independence-and hence quality of life-of blind and visually impaired people.
The system will integrate and improve on previously developed systems from expert research centres:
- Computer Vision Group at the University of Bristol: They have developed a portable headset which, in real time, can overlay enhanced scene information to people with degraded vision. This is in collaboration with cognitive experts who have worked on ways of simplifying the image content whilst maintaining the most salient information. The researchers at Bristol have worked with blind people and a working prototype was successfully validated.
- Researchers at Universidad Politecnica de Valencia: They have been working in the development of 3D models useful in applications such as robotics or virtual reality.
- Universidad de La Laguna and Instituto de Astrofisica de Canarias: They have produced and successfully tested a system to represent spaces as acoustic maps for completely blind people. This was validated in experiments and demonstrated very good results.
- Siemens AG: They have developed a CMOS sensor able to acquire 3D Real world distance information in real time with high-levels of performance.
The combination and improvement of these developments, enhanced by means of cognitive analysis and decision-making can be tailored as an integrated, portable and suitable system for both visually impaired and blind people. This will allow them to benefit from a system tailored for everyday tasks, enabling autonomous navigation while being able to identify potential risks, obstacles and routes.
Funding SchemeSTREP - Specific Targeted Research Project
38207 La Laguna, Tenerife
BS8 1TH Bristol