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Virtual Environments for the Training of Visually Impaired

Objective

The ENORASI project aims at developing a highly interactive and extensible virtual reality system that will allow visually impaired people, especially those blind from birth, to study and interact with various virtual objects. ENORASI will not only introduce techniques for the training of blind people based on their haptic interaction with virtual objects, but will also provide case studies for their training through interaction, manipulation and modification of objects of complex shapes.
An immersive haptic virtual environment (VE) will be created, simulating the real world guiding them through all the phrases of the training procedure. The ENORASI project introduces completely innovative non-visual virtual reality techniques that will help training blind people into feeling, understanding and interacting with complex virtual objects (airplanes, buildings, 3D maps, famous archaeological findings, etc.)

Objectives:
The project's technological objectives include development, testing, and evaluation of new approaches that will serve the project purposes.

These include:
- Development of a high sensitivity virtual reality haptic system for training.
- Development of novel virtual intelligent agents guiding blind humans and consulting them when interacting with the virtual objects, in the way that real guides would.
- Development of a metadata schema for efficient representation of texture.
- Development of realistic 3D rendering systems.

The business oriented objectives for ENORASI include the promotion of powerful solutions for the training of functionally impaired humans and the definition of the commercialisation and exploitation potential of ENORASI.

Work description:
The project will produce five main outcomes:
1. A usability study of innovative virtual reality systems for the training of visually impaired.
2. The ENORASI virtual reality training case studies where complete pilot training scenarios will be implemented and tested for injury-less and strain-less training.

These include:
a) recognising every day objects,
b) recognising complex virtual objects not easily accessible in their real life,
c) interacting with virtual objects and understanding their physical characteristics,
d) facilitating the participation of the visually impaired users in an educational or entertainment environment and
e) navigating into complex VEs based on haptic information and guidance from virtual guides.
3. The ENORASI virtual reality blind training system consisting of a high sensitivity virtual reality haptic system or training (supporting object interaction, manipulation, modification and query) along with novel virtual intelligent agents (implementing the specific training case studies) guiding visually impaired humans and consulting them hen interacting with the virtual objects, in the way that real guides would.
4. An international conference into Virtual Reality Applications in Training of Visually Impaired Humans planned in the 19th month.
5. A white paper providing technology standards and infrastructure guidelines for the setting up of VR based training systems for the visually impaired persons.

Work in the project is organised in the following phases:
a. System specification and user requirements phase,
b. Development of the haptic VR system and integration of internal system prototype,
c. Development of second prototype with improved functions phase,
d. Evaluation and dissemination phase.

Milestones:
M1: System definition
M2: Internal prototype release
M3: International Conference on Haptics in Virtual Environments
M4: Final system release
M5: Final report

The project will result in the ENORASI Training System, and Training Cases together with a White Paper providing technology and infrastructure guidelines.

Funding Scheme

CSC - Cost-sharing contracts

Coordinator

SYSTEMA TECHNOLOGIES S.A.
Address
Mesogion Av. 215
11525 Athens
Greece

Participants (7)

CENTRE FOR RESEARCH AND TECHNOLOGY HELLAS
Greece
Address
6Th Km Charilaou-thermi Road
57001 Thermi-thessaloniki
CZECH TECHNICAL UNIVERSITY IN PRAGUE
Czechia
Address
Zikova 4
166 36 Praha 6
FRAUNHOFER GESELLSCHAFT ZUR FOERDERUNG DER ANGEWANDTEN FORSCHUNG E.V.
Germany
Address
Hansastrasse 27C
80686 Muenchen
LOCAL UNION OF CENTRAL MACEDONIA OF THE PANHELLENIC ASSOCIATION OF THE BLIND
Greece
Address
Ag. Theodoras 3
54623 Thessaloniki
LUNDS UNIVERSITET
Sweden
Address
Paradisgatan 5C
221 00 Lund
NAVIMETRIC
Spain
Address
Grabador Esteve 12-1-4
46004 Valencia
UNIVERSIDAD POLITECNICA DE VALENCIA
Spain
Address
Camino De Vera S/n
46022 Valencia