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Finger-Mounted Obstacle Detector for People with Visual Impairment

Derrick K. X. Ling, Bee Theng Lau, and Almon W.Y. Chai
Swinburne University of Technology, Sarawak, Malaysia

Abstract—Mobility is the ability to move. People with visual impairment has limited mobility as they have limited vision to move safely without colliding against obstacles. This paper presents a wearable device using technology to help people with visual impairment to detect obstacles. The device uses an ultrasonic sensor to obtain real time information of distance between device and obstacles. This information is interpreted into an audio feedback which will alert or notify users the presence of obstacles in their path. The device is small enough to be worn on the finger and direction of detection can be changed by pointing the hand or finger elsewhere. Three experimental testing were conducted to evaluate the prototype. First experiment was to determine the detection rate on indoor and outdoor obstacles of different sizes and shapes in a controlled environment. Second experiment was to test the prototype with participants wearing blindfolds (no vision simulator) and walking in an indoor environment filled with real life obstacles. Third experiment was conducted with participants wearing low vision simulators walking in an outdoor environment. Results showed the prototype works better for people with low vision than no vision. 
Index Terms—assistive technology, obstacle detection, ultrasonic rangefinder, visual impaired

Cite: Derrick K. X. Ling, Bee Theng Lau, and Almon W. Y. Chai, "Finger-Mounted Obstacle Detector for People with Visual Impairment," International Journal of Electrical and Electronic Engineering & Telecommunications, Vol. 8, No. 1, pp. 57-64, January 2019. Doi: 10.18178/ijeetc.8.1.57-64