Assistive systems for the visually impaired

Assistive systems for the visually impaired

Motivation

Worldwide, there are 314 million of visually impaired and 45 million of them are blind. According to EU reports for every 1000 Europeans 4 are blind or visually impaired. Vision loss is the most serious sensory disability that causes approx. 90% depravation of entire multi sense perception for a human. In spite of a long lasting research efforts independent mobility and orientation aids for the blind still await for a ground-breaking technology that would effectively support visually impaired. No single solution of electronic travel aids has gained a wider acceptance within the blind community. The white cane (with no mounted electronics) still remains the primary travel aid for the blind [1].

  • Research directions

    Electronic Travel Aids (ETA) is the general term encompassing a large class of assistive devices aiding the blind in mobility [2]. The following functional, rather than technological classification of these assistive devices can be defined: 1) obstacle detectors, 2) environment imagers, 3) orientation & navigation systems. The first two classes of aids are personal (wearable) devices of different technological complexity that scan the environment in from small (ultrasound detectors) to larger ranges (vision based systems). Whereas the third group of aids are systems that compute positioning information and can acquire data from larger scale distributed networks, e.g. sensor networks, digital maps or GPS. In the Institute of Electronics at Lodz University there is a long research record aimed at building ETA mainly as part of the "Naviton" and EU Horizon 2020 "Sound of Vision" project [3].


    Assistive systems for the visually impaired

    Assistive systems for the visually impaired.

  • Achievements

    The key developments that have been achieved during recent years are the following:


    Institute of Electronics has also contributed to the success of the success of the Sound of Vision EU project, devoted to building personal navigation aid for the visually impaired

  • Perspectives

    The ETA prototypes that we have built are still far from being ready solutions for guiding the visually impaired in real-world indoor or outdoor environments. We see these technologies rather as bases for virtual reality or real-world training environments. From our rich interactions with the visually impaired we conclude that that developing an adequate, user-centered scheme for training in efficient use of the ETA is of paramount importance. Our recent work can be accessed at [4].

  • Contact persons

    • Prof. Paweł Strumiłło ORCiD, e-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
    • Dr. Piotr Skulimowski ORCiD, e-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

  • Relevant publications

    1. [1] Hersh M, Johnson M (2008) Assistive technology for visually impaired and blind people. Springer, London
    2. [2] Strumillo P., Electronic interfaces aiding the visually impaired in environmental access, mobility and navigation, 3rd International Conference on Human System Interaction, Rzeszow, 2010, pp. 17-24
    3. [3] Strumillo P. et al. (2018) Different Approaches to Aiding Blind Persons in Mobility and Navigation in the "Naviton" and "Sound of Vision" Projects. In: Pissaloux E., Velazquez R. (eds) Mobility of Visually Impaired People. Springer, Cham
    4. [4] Skulimowski, P., Owczarek, M., Radecki, A. et al. Interactive sonification of U-depth images in a navigation aid for the visually impaired. J Multimodal User Interfaces 13, 219–230 (2019)

Institute Structure – Divisions

Medical Electronics Division

Head of the Division
prof. Piotr Szczypiński


Communications Division

Head of the Division
prof. Sławomir Hausman


Electronic Circuits and Thermography Division

Head of the Division
prof. Bogusław Więcek

Address

Institute of Electronics
Lodz University of Technology
211/215 Wolczanska Str. B-9 building
PL 93-005 Lodz
POLAND

+48 42 636 00 65
w2i23@adm.p.lodz.pl
Mo-Fr: 8.00 - 16.00

VAT identification number: PL 727-002-18-95